Apple

Using 1Password keeps all your different logins safe

Using a password manager, like 1Password, is one of the smartest things you can do to protect yourself online.

1password.png
 Credit: AgileBits

With compromised websites and merchants becoming more and more common, people with bad password practices may find themselves significantly compromised if they, for example, use the same password across numerous websites including their financial institutions.

One of the best ways to protect oneself against password disclosures is by using a password manager. My favorite is 1Password from Agilebits. For Mac and iOS users, 1Password provides a secure lockbox and password manager that is fully integrated with the most popular Mac web browsers and seamless sync across via iCloud, Dropbox or local Wi-Fi sync.

By using the included password generator, 1Password users can create incredibly secure passwords that are distinct for each website they visit. For example, a user may create a nonsense password like JJFzXAD2w8ke for their Gmail account, while an account with their bank would have an entirely different password like A84JHLzMwofq.

The benefits to this are twofold: if a password database were compromised, it is highly unlikely that the hackers could decrypt such a complicated password. Most often, passwords will be run against a database of dictionary words to find people that use passwords of their pets' names or other common items. The second benefit, is that even if a password is reached at one website – perhaps with a phishing email — that compromised password would not affect any other sites. In addition, it is easily changed.

The idea behind 1Password is to allow users to have one relatively easy to remember password that unlocks a "vault" that contains all their other passwords and other secure information. The app can also store credit card details, or any other secured notes, making life considerably easier for users to manage their data securely. The app is smart enough to enter credit cards into fields on websites when making purchases, and it also notices when you are trying to enter a password on a website that may look like authentic one but is in fact trying to steal your login.

1Password authenticates its vault with AES-256 with encrypt-then-MAC and an openly published security design to encourage testing of the program from so-called white hat hackers.

1Password
 Credit: AgileBits

On the Mac, 1Password is most readily accessed via a menulet or the command-\ keystroke. When on a website with login boxes, for example, a simple stroke of that keystroke will automatically enter stored username and password information. Once users are used to using 1Password, using it becomes easier and faster than the old way of typing login information manually.

On the iPhone and iPad, things are a little less convenient because of the way Apple prevents apps from talking to each other. Users can copy stored passwords from the 1Password app for use in other apps, or they can use a web browser built into 1Password for visiting secure websites. The benefits of using a password manager and unique passwords for each website far outweigh the minor inconvenience of actually using the password manager.

Given the amount of time that needs to be spent changing passwords and logins following a security breach, switching to a password manager like 1Password, is a great timesaver in the long run and I highly recommend using it.

1Password is available on the Mac App Store for $50, as a universal iPhone and iPad app for $18, and for Windows via AgileBits' website for $50. There are also multiuser family licenses available for Mac and Windows, as well as a Mac and Windows system bundle, both from AgileBits directly.

About

Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.

7 comments
BenjaminGrimm
BenjaminGrimm

I used to be a huge fan of 1Password but not being able to access the passwords I saved on my work computer and mobile devices was crippling. I tested lots of password managers and found RoboForm by Siber Systems to be compatible with the widest range of devices and browsers

jdcohen14
jdcohen14

I think 1Password does a pretty good job on the Macs.  But I preferer RoboForm as an all around password manager.  I've tried 1Password as well as some of the others out there, but I always come back to RoboForm.  Maybe it's because I started with RoboForm, but I just find the others a bit clunky.

yonian
yonian

Keepass + Dropbox

Open source, well established, multi platform (unofficial, but reliable,) free (donation supported).

There are probably other good ones, but this one works for me. I have a ridiculous number of passwords and before I finally started using keepass too many of them were predictable. I use a Windows 7 desktop, an iPad and an Android phone every day and now I don't have to worry (as much!) about security or forgetting credentials. BTW, varying complex usernames also helps security.

sbarman
sbarman

I LOVE 1PASSWORD! I cannot live without it. None of my accounts have readable passwords because of it. Even the login here at TechRepublic that uses and annoying pop-over, I can get 1Password to recognize it and log me in. I only wish that Apple would make it easier to use 1Password on iOS devices!

johnblogs
johnblogs

I'm using LoginBox on my iPhone & iPad. It 

VortexCortex
VortexCortex

I would not use 1Password because it doesn't offer mutlifactor authentication like other passwords managers does (I'm a LastPass user, by the way). Mutlifactor authentication is an essential feature for those of us who are serious about security. That said, a password manager that doesn't offer mutlifactor authentication is not the kind of password manager that deserve recommendation.

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