I know too many people that still don't have a good way to manage all those passwords that are required to do just about anything on the internet these days. They either use the same rather simple password over and over again, or they write all their passwords down in a little paper notebook. I have over 250 different passwords. How well do you think either of the above options would work for me? It wouldn't work at all. Not only is this not convenient, but it is also dangerous. Do me and yourself a favor and fix this right now. Here is how you can get started in just a few minutes time and for no initial cost...
Go to the Agile Bits website and download a free 30-day trial of their excellent password management software 1Password. I recommend 1Password, not only because it is what I use but because the people behind it and the product itself is absolutely top notch! You can download a fully functional version for either the Mac or PC and use it for free for 30-days. Once you download the application take a few minutes and do the following:
- Read the "First time you run 1Password" instructions for Mac here or for PC here
- Populate the app with your 5 most frequently used websites that require logins
- Be sure to populate the web URL in each of these 5 entries as well so you can use the automatic fill feature
Install the 1Password browser extension in your browser of choice
a. If you are on a Mac go here for browser extension install instructions
b. If you are on a PC go here for browser extension install instructions
Add your main credit card to the 1Password app
a. Instructions for adding an identity and credit card on a Mac are here
b. Instructions for adding an identity and credit card on a PC are here
All of these things above should have taken you 15 mintues or less. Now go into each one one of the 5 most used passwords and change each of them to a more secure password (you must of course login to the site in question and navigate to the option that lets you change your password). Instructions for how to use 1Password to help you change a password from within the browser are here for a Mac and here for a PC. This will do two things. First off, it will make your most used passwords much more secure. Secondly, it will get you used to using 1Password to create very secure passwords so the next time you need to create a password for something you can now use 1Password to do it.
The next time you have to make a purchase online, use the 1Password browser extension to automatically fill both your identity (name, address, phone number, email address...) and credit card information in just a few clicks. No more storing credit card information on all these websites. There is no reason to. It will now only take you a few clicks to fill everything in and now these sites don't have to store your credit card numbers.
At the end of the 30-day trial you will need to decide if it is worth it for you to puchase this software. If for some crazy reason you don't want to buy the software after 30-days then simply go to your top 5 sites and change your passwords back to a more easily typed password and delete the software from your computer. But I think once you have tried it you will find 1Password to be indispensable. Seriously, invest 15 minutes or so and do these things and you will take an important step in making your digital life secure. You may not thank me right away, but the next time someone you know has their credit card hacked, identity stolen or one of their online accounts compromised you will thank me. Sure, there are still ways for these things to happen to you when using 1Password but it makes it MUCH less likely. The convenience factor alone is worth the price of this software, but the real reason to use it is for the security.