We are accumulating more and more passwords and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to remember them all while maintaining a certain level of security . The events surrounding the iPhone involved in the San Bernardino attacks have made us even more aware of the importance of properly shielding access to our accounts. Using a password for everything or the famous ‘12345’ is suicidal these days, and it will pay off to invest a little in our privacy.
Fortunately, more and more products and services are making password management much easier and the best thing about it is that we don’t have to go crazy trying. They are the so-called ‘password managers’ and the offer continues to grow with increasingly interesting proposals.
A password manager in an application that generates, stores and manages the different passwords we use on our devices throughout the day. It would be a mistake to limit them to being considered mere repositories of passwords, but they go much further: they offer us passwords with different levels of security that are subsequently synchronized between the different devices, and have private browsers in which we can access our most sensitive information.
But without a doubt, the main advantage of this type of service lies in the possibility of using a different password for each account or service that we access , and in many cases we don’t even know what it is. The automation makes access to accounts very intuitive and without the need for full access to the application. What are the best services?
- iCloud Keychain: Apple was not exactly the first to reach this market, but its great integration with Safari on different platforms, makes the use of Keychain really easy. The service encrypts data both in transit and in its storage through 256-bit AES and its operation is tremendously intuitive: the user does not have to do anything since Safari will detect at the time if that particular field requires a password and users already stored. Its only weak point lies mainly in its convenience: there is no subsequent verification of access to passwords, so any user who has our device unlocked will be able to access them.
- 1Password: This is one of the great mainstream services as far as password managers are concerned and 1Password already has millions of users with its multiplatform service. Like iCloud Keychain, the service uses 256-bit AES encryption on both the device and its servers, and although it does not directly use two-step verification, it can be configured on the cloud services where it stores data, namely iCloud and Dropbox. In terms of usage, the application can be conveniently launched from both the iOS and Safari for OS X extensions, either to generate a new password or to access a service. The application also allows us to generate temporary tokens for services such as Facebook or Google. The application for Apple Watch will facilitate access to the main passwords that we mark with the corresponding tag, something really useful if we use them frequently.
- True Key: The new Intel product has been the last one to arrive and therefore it plays with certain advantage, since it has the opportunity to improve the present. True Key has done it with an interesting function: to unblock the access to the application by means of facial recognition, something really interesting in those devices that lack TouchID (more comfortable and faster). Like the rest of the services, Intel’s offers a private storage vault, not only for passwords, but also for credit cards, checking accounts, and even notes that we want to keep safe. As required by law, True Key encrypts its content in 256-bit AES and is also multiplatform.
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LastPass: It is the other great rival of 1Password and also accumulates millions of users, and like this one, it uses AES 256 encryption in its servers. The main advantage of this service is that it allows more unlocking options in the multi-factor authentication, so on paper, the level of security would be higher. This service is logically also multi-platform and compatible with the iOS and Safari extensions. LastPass also has an application for Apple Watch, but in this case has more possibilities than 1Password, and we are not clear if the latter is an advantage, or complicates things a bit.