Why do you need 1Password?
In today’s online world, people have many sites that they register online accounts with, banks, web forums, product support, online shopping sites, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc. As you add more sites it becomes more difficult to remember different user accounts and passwords so many people end up reusing the same user name and passwords. They often choose easy to remember passwords, rather than more complex ones that are more difficult to crack.
Before I used 1Password as tended to use the same password for many different online accounts. I thought that because I used a Mac, I would be safe. I was very careful which websites I used, knowing to avoid clicking on suspect links in emails. This was not enough. Your online security is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. One day someone hacked into a website database holding my user name and password and took over my account on that site. Luckily they did not try to use that information on other sites and I did not suffer any financial loss, but it could have been far worse. I had to spend the best part of the day going through and changing all my online accounts to unique passwords. It taught me a valuable lesson, even if you think your computer is secure and you are careful about your online activity, one of the websites that you are registered on may not be so secure. These days it is too risky to use the same user name and password on multiple sites.
I realised that I needed a way to manage my online accounts, one that could securely and easily store and access my user name and passwords, yet still be able to access my accounts from mobile devices and Windows PC’s. The best solution that I found was 1Passwordfrom Agilebits.
One Password overview
1Password from Agilebits is a password, form-filling and identity manager that fully integrates with your browser.
1Password key features;
- Password Manager – Fully featured password manager that integrates with your browser
- Software – Secure data store for all your software licence data
- Secure Notes – Securely store all your confidential information in a free text format
- Wallet – Store all your credit card data for use in online shopping carts
- Accounts – Securely store data to access e-mail, FTP Servers, Internet provider and others
- Identities – Automatic form filler with support for different identities
1Password takes its name from the fact that you define a master password when you first install the application. This password is then used to unlock the data each time you want to access it. This way you only have to remember one password, but the software allows you to create complex, unique passwords for each site and helps you manage them.
1Password allows you to quickly save new password Logins. It will detect when you are logging into a web site, and if it notices a password you do not already have saved, 1Password will prompt you to save the new Login in your secure data file to use later.
Below is a screen shot accessing Dropbox for the first time and as soon as the login process is complete, a drop down appears asking if I want to save the password in 1Password. I can choose a different 1Password label if I want to change from the default website address of the site. I just need to click the save button to save the password into the secure 1Password database.
In OS X 10.7, Lion 1Password fully supports the Safari, Firefox and Chrome Web Browsers.
If you are currently browsing a website that you want to login to and has previously saved in 1Password. Simply click the right mouse button to use the context sensitive menu. Select the 1Password login for the page that you are on. If you are not logged into 1Password it will ask you for the 1Password login first.
You can also access all your saved login’s from the Browser extension that you install when you first run the 1Password installer. Just click the button in your toolbar, unlock 1Password, then click on the login that you want to activate. 1Password will then open the webpage (if not already open) and automatically log you in.
You can also login from the 1Password App as well. Simply double-click the website that you want to log in to.
You can even add Bookmark buttons to your browser to automatically log you in to sites that you frequently visit.
Because 1Password makes it easy to access your website accounts, by securely entering your username and password you can create complex secure passwords for each one. 1Password has a strong password generator that you can access from the 1Password App, or from the browser extension button. Just use the sliders to decide how strong you want your password, then click the fill button to add to the website form.
All of your confidential information is encrypted using AES, the same state-of-the-art encryption algorithm used as the national standard in the United States. 1Password uses 128-bit keys for encryption, which means it would take millions of years for a criminal to decrypt your data.
1Password also provides protection from Keyloggers as 1Password never types your password and does not rely on the clipboard.
Identities can store personal details like your home or work address, or even your favorite forum username and signature, then automatically fill all that information into registration forms. You can create multiple identities, say one for home use and one for business use.
You can then use these identities to automatically populate forms on web forms.
Browsers can also auto-complete forms as well, but the information stored in 1Password is more secure than storing it in a browser database.
Accounts are for storing passwords and information for applications and other services that you don’t use in a browser. For example AirPort routers, Mail and Entourage accounts, FTP apps, Instant Messaging, and the iTunes Store.
When you click the + button to add a new account a list will appear of the different types of account that you can add. Simply fill in the fields and 1Password will store the information in its secure database.
1Password can also manage all your software licences in its secure database.
Just drag and drop an application from a Finder window onto 1Password’s Dock icon or sidebar. You can add tags and edit many fields of a Software License, including the version number, registered name and email address, company/developer name, website, retail price, support email, purchase date, order number, and order total.
You can even drag and drop the email you received from the developer containing all the password and purchase details as an attachment to the 1Password database. If ever you need to do a clean install of OS X, you will have all your licence data in one place instead of having to search product boxes or your email history for the product keys.
Secure Notes in 1Password is a great place to put all your sensitive information that might not fit elsewhere. I use it to store details about some of the website details used for this website, Secure Notes enables you to keep any information in a freeform text note while safely encrypting it along with the rest of your 1Password data. You can also attach files in the Secure Note database.
Shop more easily and avoid having to save your credit card numbers on websites by saving them locally in 1Password’s Wallet.
Using the 1Password App’s Wallet feature your can save all your credit card details in the secure 1Password database. Then using the browser Extension you can easily populate the credit card details in the shopping cart form when you check out, by clicking the arrow by the side of the credit card you want to use. 1Password will then intelligently populate the shopping cart form with the correct details.
All of your 1Password information—including Logins, Secure Notes, Software Licenses, Wallet items —is saved in a data file named 1Password.agilekeychain. If you want to use your 1Password information on more than one computer, there are a number of third-party solutions for keeping this file in sync, my personal favorite being Dropbox.
Dropbox is a file syncing and sharing service that works on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, iOS, and other platforms. It offers good security, fast sync speed, reliability, and flexibility. It offers 2 GB of space for free, far more than the Agile Keychain needs. When you install Dropbox, it creates a folder on your computer that looks and acts like any other folder. The difference is that when you save or update files in this folder, the changes are immediately synchronized with your Dropbox storage space “in the cloud” and any other computers on which you’ve installed Dropbox.
In the Preferences tab, under General 1Password contains an option to move your Agile Keychain to your Dropbox account. When you install Dropbox on other devices you will get an option to create a new database or link to an existing Agile Keychain. This means all your 1Password data is in Sync over all your devices. Agilebits has a 1Password App for Windows, as well as for the iPhone, iPad and Android, so you can use and sync all these applications using the Agile Keychain stored in your Dropbox folder.
1Password provides other Sync solutions, but I recommend Dropbox as the best option.
You can also use your 1Password.agilekeychain to give you access to 1Password on any computer, using 1PasswordAnywere.
1PasswordAnywhere lets you decrypt and view your Agile Keychain when you are away from your Mac. You can open your data file in a modern browser, enter your Master Password, view any type of data, and copy it to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere.
1Password is available from the developers website which also includes a 30 day free trial, or from the Mac / iOS App Stores.