Practical Technology

for practical people.

Painless password management: The best free and paid tools


Once upon a time, you might have thought you could get away with a single user ID and password for all your favorite Web sites. Then, the popular gossip Web site Gawker was hacked, and more than a million user IDs and passwords were revealed. Would it surprise you to know that many people used those same user IDs and passwords on many other far more important sites such as their bank accounts?


I could lecture you about how dumb that is, about how you need to use different passwords for different sites; that you need to pick passwords other than those old favorites, “123456” and “password; and how you should change your passwords every month for every site, but what’s the point?

Leaving aside that most people are lousy at security, can anyone really keep in their heads the dozens of passwords you need for your bank, Facebook, Twitter, office e-mail server, Gmail, phone, electric, 401(k), LinkedIn, ITworld and countless other accounts? Who can manage to remember dozens of IDs and passwords for dozens of sites outside of savants such as the fictional Raymond Babbitt? I’ll tell you who: No one.

So what can you do to use safe passwords on the Internet without driving yourself crazy trying to remember all of them? There are several ways to try to do it and here’s my list.

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