What can I use to track all of my passwords?

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 5, 2000

Question

What is a good way to keep track of the passwords needed to visit various Internet sites when researching information? Even the 'free' sites require a sign-in and password. I would like to not have one password for all locations.

- Charles

Answer

This question was answered on June 5, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


Anyone who has been surfing the Net for any length of time can relate to your quandary.

Microsoft's Web browser, Internet Explorer, has addressed this to a certain extent with a feature called 'AutoComplete.'

By default, current versions of IE will ask you if you would like it to save passwords when you enter them at a site This will keep track of the password associated with that site and that user name (If you are not being asked, you can turn this feature on by clicking on the Tools menu, then on Internet Options, then on the Content tab at the top Click on the AutoComplete button and place a checkmark in the 'Prompt me to save passwords.')

This feature allows you to 'fire and forget' but poses a security problem if multiple users have access to the same system Even worse, if the AutoComplete information ever gets deleted you will have no way to know what the password was, because you relied on the system to remember.

You can manually track passwords by simply creating a password protected Word or Excel document that lists all of your user names and passwords (If you need help putting a password on a document, go to the Help menu and look up 'passwords' in the index as each program and version has different steps.)

Another option would be to install a password-tracking program that keeps track of all of your passwords and requires you to remember only one master password.

I was able to find more than 30 downloadable programs on the Internet that ranged from free to $50 Most had very confusing installation programs or were very large to download.

Of the dozens that I downloaded and tested, a tiny program (132K) called Password Assistant from Bubonic Software stood out as being one of the easier to understand and use It supports unlimited users as well as unlimited passwords, so everyone in the family or office can have their own information stored It uses encryption to store the information safely and requires you to remember only the master password.

This program does not fill in the blanks when you go to a Web site, it simply keeps a secured database of your user names and passwords in an easy to access hierarchical manner You can download a 30-day free trial of the program and it's only $6 if you decide to use it You can download Password Assistant at <a href="http://www.starfighter.net/bubonic/programs/pass/index.html"><font color="#003399">http://www.starfighter.net/bubonic/programs/pass/index.html.</font></a>

If you would like to see a list of more password tracking programs go to:<a href="http://www.webattack.com/freeware/security/fwpass.shtml"><font color="#003399">http://www.webattack.com/freeware/security/fwpass.shtml.</font></a>

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 5, 2000

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