Password Safe

We all have multiple usernames and passwords for the various account credentials we use.  This can turn into a nightmare when trying to remember how to get to the resources you need to access.

It can be easy to fall into the temptation of using the same password for all of your accounts.  The problem is, what happens when one account password is compromised?  Then all of your accounts are susceptible to exploitation.

One strategy that has been used for a long time is to keep a list of all of your passwords.  This is a good idea, as long as it is done in a secure way.  Taping your passwords to your monitor or under your keyboard is not a good idea.  Placing your list of passwords in a steel safe next to your desk isn't very practical.  So how do we solve this problem?

Software

Combining the usability of a list of passwords and the security of a steel safe can be done through the use of a password safe.  This is an application that resides on your computer, laptop, pda, smartphone, etc., that holds all of your passwords, safely encrypted from prying eyes.  This allows you to choose a different password for all of your various accounts without fear of forgetting it.  The password safe is locked with a single password, which you should memorize and keep confidential.

Then, when you need your password for your favorite website, you simply open your password safe and copy and paste that password into the web browser.  Some of these programs will even create random passwords for you so that you don't have to think about it.

When choosing a password safe program, make sure it fits all of your needs.  If you need to be able to share the passwords between your Macintosh computer and your Windows computer, make sure you choose a program that works under both operating systems.  Make sure to check the strength of the encryption for your password safe to ensure the information within is kept confidential.

If you need a program like this on your Institute desktop, please contact your helpdesk to see which program is available to you.

Here is the list in no particular order of free software solutions.  Other commercial solutions exist.