1Password and KeePass lead the field in features, flexibility, browser integration, and ease of use
I hate passwords. I hate coming up with them. I hate remembering them. I hate mistyping them four times in a row. And I hate getting locked out of whatever I'm trying to log into in the process.
That said, I hate being hacked only slightly more, so I've done my part to use passwords that aren't "password123" or something equally foolish. The hard part is keeping them straight, which I could do by writing them down -- but isn't that a security hole all over again? Heck, I've known that since I was a kid. I saw "WarGames."
[ Also on InfoWorld: 5 very cool (but kinda creepy) mobile technologies | Stay up to date on the latest security developments with InfoWorld's Security newsletter. | Get a dose of daily computer security news by following InfoWorld's Roger Grimes on Twitter. ]
Password vaults, aka password safes or password managers, help solve this problem. They give you a central place to store all your passwords, encrypted and protected by a passphrase or token that you provide. This way, you have to memorize a single password -- the one for your password vault. All the other passwords you use can be as long and complex as possible, even randomly generated, and you don't have to worry about remembering them.
If having your passwords in a single encrypted store were all you needed, then a password-protected Microsoft Word document would do the trick. There has to be an easier way. One of the reasons I looked at these password vaults -- a total of seven -- was to see how easy it was to work with them over an extended period of time. If they didn't provide much more convenience over simply copying and pasting passwords from a text file, they'd hardly be worth using.
Here's what I found. To keep the list manageable, I've focused on programs that have both a desktop and a mobile version available, with the desktop taking precedence.
KeePass and 1Password stood out as the best of the bunch for slightly different reasons. KeePass is free open source software with a large community of users and add-ons behind it. But most important, KeePass has been written with a good sense for how people need to interact with the program every single day. 1Password, priced at $49.99, is even better in that respect. It's polished, powerful, closely integrated with your browser, and easy to keep in sync with your mobile devices.
RoboForm, a longtime presence in this field, is a close contender for the top choice as well, thanks to many of its unique features, such as an intelligent form-filling function (for name/address forms) and the ability to work with other kinds of applications apart from Web browsers.
Ease of use (25.0%)
OS support (20.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
|KeePass 2.18 / 1.21||9.0||9.0||10.0||8.0||10.0||9.1|
Those of you who signed up for the Windows 10 upgrade but changed your mind may be able to crawl out
You may be better off sticking with Win7 or Win8.1, given a wide range of Win10 trade-offs and...
Samsung's throwing another phablet into the ring, but this one's curved on both sides
New sources are stepping up questions about Oracle's stewardship of the Java development platform
What you omit from your resume is just as important to job search success as what you include
Some apps on some iPads support full split-screen capabilities, so be prepared for a variable user...
The latest Start menu has few of Win7-era customizations -- but many new tricks worth knowing