Have you ever found yourself buried under heaps of handwritten notes trying to remember your PayPal password? I guess some of you have chosen to use just one password for all your accounts to avoid all that trouble – and, well, it does take some of the pain away. But on the other hand using the same password for all your accounts and records is a sure way to get hacked. You could still use different unguessable combinations of letters, numbers, and punctuation as passwords – you just need to keep them securely stored in one place by means of using a software password manager. Let's have a look at some of them and see which one does its job best.
Its main asset is that it's an open-source tool. KeePass provides you with a lightweight database to keep your passwords in, and it encrypts it, giving those insidious intruders no chance to open it without a master password or key file. Moreover, besides storing the passwords, the program gives you some other options: you can categorize passwords and copy them to a web form, another application, or the clipboard. It also lets you easily search for your passwords and print them out in different formats, including TXT, HTML, XML, and CVS files.
I'd call KeePass a magic wand especially for newcomers, as it's very easy to use, unrestricted, incredibly secure, and totally free. It's really worth your while, there's nothing to add.
Steganos Password Manager
Being the best-selling password manager out there, it's got to be something good: you have to pay almost 16 bucks for it. The whole idea of this software is actually the same as that of KeePass. Besides providing you with a secure place to store your data, Steganos Password Manager also generates unique and strong passwords for any purpose and then encrypts them, making them accessible only with a master password or a specially formatted USB stick. Moreover, the app includes a virtual keyboard, so you won't fall victim to keyloggers when you're entering the master password.
Still, as much as Steganos Password Manager seems to be worth investing in, when you compare it with KeePass, which is a free app, there's not actually that much of a difference. Sure, it has a virtual keyboard – but is there anything else to justify the purchase?
Passware Kit Professional
Actually, this app's main intended purpose is not to manage your passwords, but rather the opposite: Passware Kit Professional is designed to recover all kinds of lost and forgotten passwords for various webpages and password-protected documents, which you can then save somewhere or print. In fact, the app goes even further and allows you to scan your computer for protected files and reset their passwords. Not bad, isn't it? Yea, but there are two things to keep in mind. First of all, these options will cost you a pretty penny, no less than $200. And secondly, the password you need to recover should still be recorded somewhere on your PC – in your browser cache, temp files, anywhere. Still, even if the price is somewhat, erm, mind-blowing, when you need to remember a password to your online bank account, it may be well worth the trouble. Beggars can't be choosers, you know.
I must warn you, though: whatever the developers of these password managers may promise, none of them is a 100% guarantee against hackers. The only thing I can recommend is that you keep the most information in your head and make it a long-term memory, something you cannot forget. In short, keep things to yourself and you'll be out of harm's way.