Maintaining a large assortment of strong passwords is a challenge. Here are some apps that make the task more manageable.
IT pros keep a lot of information stored in their brains. Some of that information is passwords. I can't tell you how many times I've seen administrators have to nearly crack their heads on their desk to get a password to ooze out. I've even seen a Windows SBS box sit, unable to be maintained, because no one could remember the password.
That's a silly mistake, especially when there are so many applications out there created for the management of passwords. I'm going to introduce you to five such applications -- each of which does a great job of storing your passwords and won't set you back a single penny. Now you won't have any excuse for forgetting those passwords.
Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.
1: Password GorillaPassword Gorilla (Figure A) is a simple cross-platform application that helps you manage your logins. It stores user names, passwords, login information, and miscellaneous notes in a securely encrypted file. In typical fashion, a single master password is used to protect the encrypted file that contains the password database. Password Gorilla is fairly stripped down, without many bells and whistles. It does one thing and does it well.
2: KeePassKeePass (Figure B) offers quite a list of features for a single-minded application. It's cross platform and open source, and it offers strong security, multiple user keys, a portable (no install) version, export/import in various formats, database transfer, password groups, time fields and entry attachments, auto-type/global auto-type hot key, drag and drop, secure clipboard handling, search and sort, a strong random password generator, and plug-ins.
3: KeePassXKeePassX (Figure C) is a cross-platform open source tool that rivals KeePass. It offers extensive management features and enables you to search in specific groups or in the complete database. You can access the KeePassX database using a password and/or a key file. KeePassX provides a customizable password generator and a password quality indicator. It uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or the Twofish algorithm.
4: PasspackPasspack (Figure D) is an online password manager that offers free and paid accounts. The free account limits the number of passwords you can keep. Although some might balk at the idea of keeping passwords online, Passpack has been around and vetted by plenty of large companies. It allows you to share passwords on a need-to-know basis (free account limited to one user share). Passpack also has a unique feature -- the Passpack It! button -- which allows you one-click entry into many sites requiring authentication.
5: ClipperzClipperz is another online password management site designed to keep track of your myriad passwords. It stores each entry in the form of a card. You can create cards for Web, bank account, custom, and direct login (Figure E). Clipperz also offers a Compact edition that works as a sidebar for the Firefox browser. And you can install a bookmarklet so that adding a new card is as simple as clicking the button in the browser (without having to go to your Clipperz account) and adding the information.
Take your pick
There are plenty of password management applications out there to choose from. The five listed here will get the job done and get it done for free. Each of these applications offers enough security to ease the mind of most IT pros looking for a safe environment for their passwords. Give one (or two) of these a try and see if it fits your needs.