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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Are password managers the answer?

    Using the same password for multiple accounts is a bad idea. Using "easy" passwords is a bad idea; passwords should all look like random collections of characters. Passwords should be changed regularly. As a result of all this, we are left with the task of trying to remember a large number of seemingly random strings of characters, in effect an impossible task. The solution, say the experts, is to use a password manager like Roboform or LastPass. But I have trouble working with them. I'm not locked in to a single computer: I often use the computers of friends or colleagues, or an iPod. Do I have to make sure I have Roboform on a thumb drive every time I go out the front door? Some computers don't allow thumb drives. What if LastPass goes out of business or has a technical hiccup? Wouldn't I completely lose access to all the sites I've signed up for? Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm deeply puzzled by the question of how to manage the many dozens of passwords I need.

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    David,

    Disclosure: I'm a rabid RoboForm user...

    In fact just today I upgraded my 2 licenses to version 7 and bought 2 more. They gave me a price of 15.64 ea. I consider this a bargain for the functionality RF provides. I use sync toy to keep the machines in sync {just remember not to sync the License.rfo file}. Every so often I also print out all my passcards and chuck them in the safe {just in case}. However, the chance that all 4 machines will bite the dust along with all the image backups at the same time is quite rare.

    Before doing this I gave Kee Pass a try but didn't find it easy to use at all. YMMV. In any event I believe that a password manager is one of those essential security tools for any serious computer user who is on-line! IMHO.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I use LastPass and have been very pleased with it. After what appears to be a minor security breach recently, I did change my master password and all critical passwords. One thing you have to remember, strong passwords are important. Since LastPass does NOT store your master password, and has no way of sending it to you if you loose it, it's important to remember what it is. If the data is stolen, and you had a weak master password, then your data might be cracked. If you had a strong master password with combinations of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, there is very little chance of having it cracked.

    Also do not use the same passwords on all your sites. I tend to use the same passwords on non-critical sites, but use different, strong passwords on critical sites such as financial sites, etc.
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  5. #4
    2 Star Lounger
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    I use the free version of LastPass as well and l like it very much. It makes my life much easier. With a very strong master password for LastPass you will be fine. Another nice feature is you can access your LastPass account and then use it on a different computer no matter where it is located, all you need to do is go to LastPass's website and login to your account using this master password. Finally you can save all the information within LastPass (urls, usernames and passwords). I save mine to a text file, then I can store all these on a separate backup hd as well as print out a paper copy. All you do is go to LastPass's site, use your master password to your LastPass Vault and under your Account Settings is the ability to inport, export etc all your info.

  6. #5
    2 Star Lounger
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    I've been using KeePass v1.x for several years and I'm very pleased with it. I currently have over 500 entries that, in addition to passwords, store userids, site URLs, login automation sequences, special notes (like the answers to those security questions), etc. My master password in very strong, but easy for ME to remember, and I only have to type it once to open the password database.

    It would be impossible for me to remember the login information for each of these sites, much less try to come up with more that a few reasonably strong passwords, without something to help. Being portable, I can load the program and database on a USB thumb drive so I can log into these sites from anywhere I can plug my drive into.

    I got into the habit of keeping my "utility" thumb drive with my keys so it always go with me when I leave.
    PJ in FL

  7. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    KeePass is pretty good. I use Password Safe (http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/), also open source and free, also installable on a thumb drive, and understands UNC paths, so it can be stored in a secure location on a server and used elsewhere.

    I personally have an aversion to storing anything critical and personal in the "cloud". The "minor" security breach that LastPass experienced and the mysterious missing data issue that Carbonite had a couple of years ago are just the tip of what could go wrong. Not to mention, do we really know who's working at these places?
    Chuck

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Brown View Post
    KeePass is pretty good. I use Password Safe (http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/), also open source and free, also installable on a thumb drive, and understands UNC paths, so it can be stored in a secure location on a server and used elsewhere.

    I personally have an aversion to storing anything critical and personal in the "cloud". The "minor" security breach that LastPass experienced and the mysterious missing data issue that Carbonite had a couple of years ago are just the tip of what could go wrong. Not to mention, do we really know who's working at these places?
    A bit off topic, but I agree with you about the cloud. Even the bigger players have huge issues. A few weeks ago, Amazon had huge problems with people and enterprises locked out of their accounts for days. This week Google's blogger service hasn't yet recovered from a maintenace release. Now imagine this happening to you... either with a regular PC, or even the upcoming Chrome laptop.
    So I do enjoy the cloud, but nothing serious for me goes on there. Not without a local copy, or better, multiple local copies.

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  10. #8
    Lounger
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    Nortons Security Suite has a password storage app that seems really good. I use it all the time, but not for my financials.
    What do you think of the Nortons password app?

  11. #9
    Platinum Lounger
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    I recommend you use a local password manager - KeePass, Password Safe etc - and store it on a USB drive, and keep a copy on-line for the times you can't load a USB stick or lose it. Then you are the one who controls your data and don't have to worry about people going out of business / being hacked.

    KeePass is able to sync multiple databases, so it's easy to keep different copies up to date.

    cheers, Paul

  12. #10
    2 Star Lounger
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    I use Lastpass (free).

    I don't use it for critical passwords like the bank.

  13. #11
    Silver Lounger t8ntlikly's Avatar
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    I use Steganos Password Manager and have for years. Many of us face the same problem with multiple computers. Steganos has a portable version built into the PC version. The portable syncs up with the PC so that when you change the PC password it shows up on the portable. They also have a mobile version but I don't use it.
    The main login is the same for both. Sort of like AMEX, I don't leave home without it.
    I highly recommend it!
    Thanks John
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  14. #12
    New Lounger
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    A personal account --- Yes, flaming myself, I was STUPID enough to use common passwords for multiple sites. Then, one account was accessed without my permission, using the STUPIDLY common password - I should have known better but was lazy and hubris said "It won't happen to me". Thankfully, no harm done, except to my self esteem. I now use a password manager - doesn't matter which one - but the one I use has an Android phone, and ipone, and symbian (I think) app. No need to keep a thumb drive, I almost always have my phone with me. Once every 2 - 3 weeks, I synch all databases. Again,the synching is done simply - all passwords are only entered into a master database. Then I email a copy to myself. Or I copy it across to the phone using cable, bluetooth, whatever is running at the time.
    The moral of this is that a) DON'T use common passwords - and I know, we all knew that one already.

    Cheers all.

  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezo View Post
    A personal account --- Yes, flaming myself, I was STUPID enough to use common passwords for multiple sites. Then, one account was accessed without my permission, using the STUPIDLY common password
    Sorry for your grief, and hopefully nothing was harmed. I use the exact same password for many sites, easy to remember, and I don't really care. There are FAR too many to remember or code.

    However, anything to do with mail or money, I have very complex p/w's, that I store on a flash drive that is encrypted.

  16. #14
    New Lounger
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    I've used Roboform for years and recommended it to lots of people. Then they persuaded me that I needed to upgrade to V7. I was uneasy, because I didn't actually want all my log-in and password details sitting on a server somewhere, but I eventually bought the upgrade - at which point the program ceased to recognise my master password. Several desperate emails to tech support later, and having tried their fixes to no avail, they suggested I uninstall V7 and reinstall V6. This worked insofar as my master password now works again to allow me to log into sites; but whenever I want to create a new passcard I am asked to confirm the master password, and under these circumstances the same password does not work. So having paid for an upgrade, I can use what I have but not create anything new. I am no longer a fan of Roboform, and as soon as I can find the time to source a reliable alternative I intend to uninstall it. I've already deleted my data from their server.....I hope.....

  17. #15
    New Lounger
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    Thumbs up

    I have used Password Safe for many years and keep the file in dropbox. That way, I have access on all my computers and my phone and my Galaxy Tab.

    It is free, makes automatic backups and keeps old versions of passwords if desired. It can be installed on a USB drive and carried around, too.

    It has always worked well for me.

    < http://pwsafe.org/ >

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