Computer Frustration

Why You Want A Password Manager

ç with this dead-simple password manager.

Computer Frustration


LIFESAVER | Everyone has their own definition of personal insanity. Mine is wasting colossal amounts of time trying to log in to all the Internet stuff—websites, social networking platforms, and software applications, whatever—I subscribe to. Experts warn us to mix up passwords to keep hackers at bay, but that’s created a nightmare for me, and plenty of embarrassing moments when I’ve needed to access key information quickly and couldn’t do it.

After I experienced particularly serious password amnesia awhile back, a friend suggested I get a password manager, utility software that would allow me to use just one secure/encrypted master password to access all of my web accounts, credit card numbers, software licensing info and other bits of personal data that I might need to recall but want to keep private.

All You’ll Ever Need

There are plenty of password managers out there, and some, such as American apps RoboForm and Last Pass, which offers free entry-level plan, are considered more secure and reliable than others. I chose Apple (and PC) friendly 1Password, an award-winning utility so easy to use that the number of minutes I now spend retrieving login information has been reduced to zero.

Once installed, 1Password integrates seamlessly with Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome, making it possible to log in your password-protected accounts instantly from a 1password button that will appear on your web browser’s nav bar. If you install the free service Dropbox, you will be able to sync 1Password on all of your computers and mobile devices.

One thing I love about 1Password’s encrypted app is that it’s a Canadian-developed product operating in Canada where the law regarding data protection and backdoor policies—undocumented ways of gaining access to a program, online service or an entire computer system (a backdoor is a potential security risk)—so far favours the end user rather than government and law enforcement. Of course, all of this could change quickly depending on what happens with the Harper government’s C-30 online surveillance bill.

While it may not be the cheapest password management software out there ($49.99 for a single user licence; $9.99 for the mobile phone app), 1Password is so easy to install and use (and Fort-Knox private, for now anyway) that I consider it money well spent.—Ruth Rainey

1Password offers a free one-month trial. To learn about it, visit

Photo: iStock

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