(By Nicholas White)
“There’s a dashboard that shows you all your weak passwords and alerts you when a service you use has been compromised. Even though I’ve been managing my passwords for security for a long time, when I first set it up, I found that I actually had 94 weak or duplicate passwords! Yikes! A tool is only as good as the user who wields it, and this feature makes sure you’re using the tool most effectively.“
Are you still using the same memorable passwords over and over again in 2013? If so, I want you to open a Google Doc right now and type, “I will download a password keeper and change all my passwords,” one hundred times. And no copy-and-pasting.
If you’re using random passwords but storing them in your browser’s default password system, you’re not much better—these systems are not very secure and they’re certainly not as convenient.
What you need is an app to generate random, impossible to break passwords and store them for you, all while making them as quick and easy to access as possible. The good news (and the bad news) is that there are now a lot of options to choose from. I’m slightly obsessed with this problem, so I’ve tested a lot. These are my recommendations.
Dashlane, like the others tested, is available on just about every platform and integrates with just about every browser. It also stores and generates passwords as well as autofills personal information and payment info.
Dashlane offers the best user experience, in my opinion. The interface is the most attractive and simple, but it’s really how elegantly and simply it integrates with your browser that makes it my top choice.
There’s a dashboard that shows you all your weak passwords and alerts you when a service you use has been compromised. Even though I’ve been managing my passwords for security for a long time, when I first set it up, I found that I actually had 94 weak or duplicate passwords! Yikes! A tool is only as good as the user who wields it, and this feature makes sure you’re using the tool most effectively.
Dashlane syncs in the cloud and offers mobile apps that also make your passwords (and personal info) accessible—though you’ll have to constantly jump over to the app and copy and paste, at least on iOS. That’s a result of Apple’s architecture, so every password keeper is like that.
The only feature it doesn’t have, at least the way I’d like it, is sharing. Dashlane lets you “share” a password, but all it’s really doing is sending an email with a secure link to your info, which someone can either read and enter manually or add to their Dashlane app at the click of a button. This is an okay solution, but I would rather be able to passively sync entries with other Dashlane users. I have certain entries that I’d like to share with my wife or assistant and I don’t want to have to resend them every time I change them—nor do I want to have to remember which entries I’ve already shared.
Some users have reported instability, but so far I have not experienced any issues myself.
Runner Up: 1Password
1Password is also an excellent solution—and the one I used until I switched to Dashlane. It has many of the same benefits, and the design and user experience are second only to Dashlane. The design is a little overdone (big lock graphics, logins depicted as items on shelves, etc.) and the integrations are good, but not quite as tight, generally, as Dashlane’s. It also syncs over Dropbox, rather than its own sync service, which is somewhat less secure. 1Password has the same sharing mechanism as Dashlane.
The biggest reason 1Password didn’t beat out Dashlane is because of Dashlane’s security dashboard, which shows you your weak passwords and reports when a service you use is compromised, and that makes all the difference in your actual security in practice.
Second Runner Up: Passpack
Passpack makes the list because it’s very secure and it has the ideal (if somewhat cumbersome) sharing mechanism—it lets you sync individual entries with other users. It’s not the only service with this feature, but it offers the best user experience for doing so. Unfortunately, while its own interface is fine, its integration is not nearly as deep and it offers no apps, only a buggy mobile site. As a result, you end up manually copying and pasting a lot, and you simply cannot get to your logins on mobile much of the time. Still, if syncing is your top priority, then Passpack is probably your best bet.
So Many Options, So Few Good Ones
As I said, I tested numerous, countless password applications. The only two other password applications that I found which offer the sync feature are Keeper and LastPass. That said, they have a pretty dated user experience, LastPass is like, Windows 95-ugly, and doesn’t look like it’s being very actively maintained, and Keeper’s website doesn’t offer a lot of information, so on principle I refuse to download or use it. Two others worth mentioning, only because they’re so bad, are Roboform and KeePass—the user experience is poor and they don’t have any syncing features.
Now you have no excuses. My recommendation: Download Dashlane and reset your most critical accounts now. I bet you can do that in half an hour or less. Then, replace two to three weak passwords every day until your online identity is locked up tight.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”