Keeping Up With Credentials: 1Password

I can almost remember a time when the only credentials I had to remember was my pin number for my debit card. Once upon a time I was able to remember most all username and password (aka credentials) for my accounts. An email address here, online banking there, a social media site here. I had a pretty clever strategy. Each account had its own three part password. Part one were characters unique to the account. Part two was a special character like @ or #. Part three was a standard phrase and the same for all passwords.

Then I started reading about websites getting hacked and users data being stolen and used for evil purposes. That plus a ballooning number of accounts to keep up with led me to start looking for a better account management solution. A friend and fellow technologist suggested the application 1Password.

Here is the iOS Mobile App Home Page

Mobile App Home Page

You install it on your devices, back up the file in the cloud via Dropbox for example, and have the application auto generate a unique password from 4 to 50 characters. You have as you can see one Master Password to get into the application.

There is also a desktop application.

Desktop App Home Page

How’s that work? You input your account Master Password and get into the application.

Account Types

You have different categories of accounts. You can keep track of websites, apps, etc. You can also keep track of Credit Cards and all of your multiple personalities, err, I mean identities.

To use your listings you just scroll to the account. To add a new account, you click plus and add, just like you would a friend in your contacts list.

Account Edit Page

Then you can tell the 1Password application to generate a password based on the way you tell it to. Based on what they call a Recipe, which you choose. For example, you can have a short password with only lower case letters.

Editing Password for Account

You can have a combo of letters and numbers, use only numbers, or… you can choose to generate a password that is 50 characters long, includes lower and upper case letters that are pronounceable, or not, digits, special characters, symbols, and have characters repeat, or not.

Different Password

What is the downside? You will never memorize that sort of magnificent password. The upside? You do not have to. When you login to the service you copy your credentials (username and password) from the 1Password app and paste it into the fields. Better still you can sync your credentials across your devices. Using Dropbox I have my 1Password credentials data shared on my iMac, iPhone, and iPad mini, as well as on my wife’s iPhone and her iPad.

It did take me a few weeks to get things setup the way I wanted them but now I am using 1Password to generate and manage over 140 different sets of credentials, and counting. Now all I have to do is remember that darn pin number for my debit card.


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