Password Madness – Eliminated

We live in a world of passwords. Chances are you deal with the passwords somewhat casually. Most do. For a quarter of a century I managed computer networks, large and small. I have seen many approaches to the multiple password problem. Some try to use the same password on every site. That does not work for long. Many sites now require regular changes; one example is the Social Security site – gotta change it every 6 months. Most sites won’t allow you to reuse a password that has been used in the past. Currently it’s getting even more complex. Many of the sites that I use now require: A capital letter, lower case letters, a “special character” and a number! So, many of us put little yellow post-its on the wall with the current password – probably the worst solution. But even that fails when you need the password that’s on the wall at home; and you want to log in somewhere else; possibly with your new high power phone.

My regular readers know what’s coming. I start with a definition of the problem then move to the solution. That solution is F-Secure Key, a password vault. I know, that is “old hat” but read on; this one is different and has features that you would not have expected. First, it’s available for PC, Mac, Apple and Android. The latter two probably account for the vast majority of cell phones. Stick with me, cell phones are an important part of this solution.

Typically, for the advantage of a larger typing keyboard; the base, and free, main module is installed on a desktop computer. Mine is a Windows 7 PC. Into that module you type the name of the contact, your ID, your password (or it will generate one for you), the web address, and if you wish a comment in the Notes section. This central repository is password protected with the *only* password you will ever need to remember. Now, to go to a registered (in the password vault) site: Open the vault, click on the web link. Then position the cursor on the ID field on the web page. Press Ctrl/F2 (on a PC) and the two fields are filled in for you. Just click Logon on the web page – that’s all there is to it. I repeat: this module is totally free and works perfectly.

So far: nice, but lots of other things do that too; and you could really do it yourself with some effort. Next I download and install (in my case) the Android App on my cell phone. I have a few dozen entries on my main PC and want them also on the cell phone. So, now I go and register the PC version for “Key Premium” service; for a fee of about $15 annually. Now I am able, on the PC to generate a “link code” to enter on the cell phone. That marries (forever) the PC and the cell phone to automatically synchronize their respective databases. Now for the magic:

On PC select About, click Sync Now – all the entries on the PC are now on the cell phone App. On Android the Ctrl/F2 “fill in” function does not exist. But, clicking on the web brings up the web browser. ID and Password can be filled in with Copy / Paste – not too bad. The nice part is having a change made on the cell (mandatory password update) *automatically* posted to PC. Not sure how often it auto updates. In a hurry? Sync Now forces the update (both ways).

Both units need to have the same Master Password for Sync to work. Pick a good one, if you lose your phone…… I like the redundant databases, the PC version will also Export to the Clipboard. This is the tool I have been wanting. Now, finally; I can eliminate all those absurd yellow “Post Its” from the wall by my PC. Confession and Repenting feels good.