Five Best Password Managers

As more of our work, play and business is conducted online it becomes increasingly important to use a diverse set of strong passwords. This week we take a look at the five best password managers to keep your passwords organised.

Photo a composite of images by melodi2 and nintaro.

You can't afford to use the same password for everything nor do many of us have the recall skills to keep dozens and dozens of complex alphanumeric passwords stored in perfect order in our memories. A password manager is the compromise between using a few you can remember and risking forgetting some if you use too many complex passwords. The follow five tools will help you build a strong password set and securely store it so you're never stuck using the same old password for fear of forgetting it.

KeePass (Windows/Mac/Linux/Mobile, Free)

If you're extra paranoid about security it's tough to go wrong with an open-source solution knowing that you (or the concerned community) can pore over the code. KeePass is open-source, free and available for everything from a portable Windows installation to a implementation for iPhones, PocketPCs, and Android phones. KeePass supports a variety of features including automatic password generation, field and icon customisation, secure notes, and login and password entry through clipboard copying, drag and drop, or auto fill-in. KeePass supports a wide range of import and export formats as well as printing for hard copy backup for secure offline storage. If you're interested in KeePass you'll definitely want to check out our guide to the eight best KeePass plugins and how to sync your KeePass keyring with Dropbox.

Roboform (Windows, Basic: Free/Pro: $US29.95)

RoboForm isn't going to win any awards for a stunning GUI, but it has gathered accolades for ease of use and tight integration with popular web browsers. You can set RoboForm to not only automatically log you into existing services but quickly fill out forms to register for new ones with automatic fill in of names and email addresses. RoboForm included encrypted notes, random password generation, and the ability to print hard copy backups of your password lists for storage in a fire safe or other secure location.

LastPass (Windows/Mac/Linux/Mobile, Basic: Free/Premium: $US1/month)

LastPass is one of the newest password managers on the market but it has quickly gained a following for ease of use, hiccup-free integration across operating systems, browsers and mobile platforms, and an extremely reasonable premium-model that costs only a $US1 a month. Because LastPass is available for every major operating system and phone platform it's difficult to imagine a combination of operating system, web browser and phone it doesn't cover, meaning you'll use your password manager more. LastPass has gone to extraordinary lengths to cover the bases when it comes to running a web-connected password management service including the ability to use two-layer authentication and setting up one-time use passwords for those times you want to access your online password database but you're not sure if the connection you're on is really secure. For a closer look at LastPass check out our guide here.

SplashID (Windows/Mac/Mobile, Desktop: $US19.95/Mobile:$US9.95)

SplashID is a multi-platform password manager. Available on the desktop for Windows and Mac OS X it also syncs to mobile versions on the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm OS, Windows Mobile and S60 platforms. SplashID uses AES and Blowfish encryption, an automatic password generator, custom icons for entries in your keyring, advanced search, and the ability to sync and securely email your passwords to other SplashID users. SplashID supports heavily customisable entry fields so you can easily make specialised entry types for storage of non-password data (confidential records, bank information, insurance information, and more). SplashID offers a 30-day trial.

1Password (Mac OS X/iPhone, Desktop: $US39.95/iPhone:$US14.95)

1Password is a Mac-centric password manager with support for syncing to your iPhone and iPad through through the 1Password mobile suite. Not only can you organise and sync just passwords but also software licences and files — great for storing things like scanned copies of your important documents when travelling. 1Password supports customisation of login icons and thumbnails, integration with Evernote and Safari, and a tag-based system for easy login organisation. While this is completely irrelevant to the quality of a good password manager in so far as the security of the passwords is concerned it's worth nothing that 1Password sports the most attractive and polished user interface of any password manager we've reviewed.

Have a favourite tool that wasn't mentioned here or a tip or trick to share about one that was? Let's hear about it in the comments.


Comments

    I use a TXT file wrapped in the TrueCrypt volume.

      @wobble

      So... basically once the Truecrypt volume is mounted, anyone can have access to your passwords? And easily copy the txt file, especially if you forget to unmount it?

    I believe 1Password is avaliable on Windows now, at least in Beta form.

      Oh, and the iPad :)

      That is, their mobile application is a universal iPad/iPhone app with different interfaces for both. This means you only have to buy it once.

    I'll put my vote in for LastPass.
    It's got me covered for Windows, Mac, Firefox, Chrome, and iPhone/iPad.

    While I've found KeePass to be the superior choice, AND it's free, the various Symbian builds are all awful for varying reasons.

    If you need a Symbian (S60) app there's a few options, but I've found that only SPB Wallet is a quality app. It's got a free trial, but it is worth paying for.

    I use passpack (http://www.passpack.com/en/home/). The free version you can store upto 100 passwords.

    It's a web based solution, but has a good "web 2.0" interface.

    This great 2010 article should be updated since the topic of password management is still very relevant and there are some additional titles available now.

    Being a Mac user and an iPhone and iPad owner, I evaluated several solutions before deciding on DataVault as my password manager of choice. (blackberry and windows versions are available too.)

    Being an IT consultant, I needed something reliable, portable, secure, and able to sync easily in both directions between mobile and desktop.

    It's not free, but it's not terribly expensive either at about $10 USD per platform. The sync between desktop and mobile is through wifi and works quite well. (desktop network connection can be wired or wireless)

    Please note that I do not have any relation to the company that makes DataVault. I'm not being paid or endorsed in any way.

    On another note, I've searched for, but not found, a solution for client server password management such that multiple individuals in an organization or small business can have private as well as shared password entries.

    If anyone has suggestions, I'd like to hear them.

    You may want to have a look at MiniBluebox. MiniBluebox for OS/X has a very simple interface, and it uses 512-bit Skein encryption.

    In MiniBluebox there are no groups or categories or a dodgy autofill function. It does not interact with browsers hence it is completely immune to browser compatibility issues. It has a Google-like autocomplete search and works via drag and drop. You may optionally use Dropbox for syncing your data between your OS/X machines or keep your data local.

    Currently IOS versions are being developed. iPhone, iPod touch and iPad versions will be released by the end of June and your data will be synchronised seamlessly across iCloud without requiring you to manage synchronisation.

    For more information please visit: http://minibluebox.com. There is in depth technical information there. There is also a support portal through which you may ask questions or report problems. Since its release in July 2011 no issues were reported. Sold to 17 countries. I have received numerous positive messages about the product.

    I use Intuitive Password. An Australian cloud-based password management system. easy to use and secure! Check it out https://www.intuitivepassword.com

    hahahah I use the Notes app in my iPhone which is conveniently hooked up to iCloud... but it's okay because I have a bunch of notes in there and it has a vague title and if you open it, you have to scroll down a fair bit to get to it. Although if you did a general 'search' on the iPhone you'd find it. I'm just a tad dull. :\

    I'm amazed nobody has mentioned DashLane
    It's the only one I've stuck with after trying a heap of options

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