RSS

The Bulletin

Please forget your passwords

Posting in Technology

Industry attempts to raise awareness about picking better passwords have fallen flat. Many people are picking easily hackable passwords and needless security breaches persist. One solution is to forget passwords and use apps and browsers that automatically generate strong ones and store them for you.

Easily exploited passwords including "qwerty," "ninja," "Jesus," and "123456" are still being widely used. Many Web sites require strong passwords when accounts are created, but a needless security gap remains. There are multiple password management apps for Android, iOS, and desktops that are more effective.

Several free Android apps securely store passwords on a single device or sync across several devices (the latter scenario usually isn't free) including PCs. They generate random passwords too, which are far stronger and more unique than ones that people pick for themselves. Those apps include:

  • aWallet
  • F-Secure Key
  • Keeper
  • mSecure
  • Norton Identity Safe
  • PasswordBox
  • Password Genie

Some of the top iOS apps are:

  • 1Password
  • F-Secure Key
  • Keeper
  • LastPass
  • Norton Identity Safe
  • oneSafe
  • mSecure
  • PasswordBox
  • Wolfram Password Generator Reference App
Other features are built directly into Web browsers. Apple's OS X Mavericks's version of Safari has a featured called iCloud Keychain, which syncs passwords across Apple hardware and will recommend more secure passwords. It only does this if the ones that are stored in the browser's autocomplete are weak. 

Windows users have the option of picking from an assortment of Internet Explorer plug-ins or using Firefox, which uses an encrypted master password and encrypts password lists. Windows 8 likewise introduced better password management that synchronizes across Windows machines. It encourages unique passwords.

More hardened options include the Kickstarter-funded myIDkey - an encrypted, biometric identity driven USB stick. It doesn't sync anything over the Web and doesn't use cloud services and stays in your pocket. 

There's no reason to remember your passwords anymore or to pick a weak one.

(image credit: CNET)

— By on January 30, 2014, 11:18 AM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure