If you struggle to remember your passwords, be sure to check out these excellent – and free – tools.
Like me, you probably have a mass of password-protected online accounts – email, Facebook, online stores, online banking, PayPal, eBay, web forums, etc., etc., etc. Best practice says you should use strong passwords and that each account should have a unique password. Okay, but this leads to an obvious problem: how the heck do you remember a multitude of complex passwords like ?lACpAs56IKMs”? And it’s this very problem that causes people to use simple, easy-to-remember passwords – such as “password”! There are, however, a couple of solutions. One option is to write your passwords down and keep the list in a secure place (no, a post-it note attached to your monitor is not a secure place!). While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it’s not particularly convenient. A better option is to use a password manager such as the excellent KeePass or LastPass (which I’ve briefly mentioned before in this post).
Comparing LastPass with KeePass
KeePass and LastPass are both completely free applications with a similar set of features. Basically, what these applications do is remember your passwords and store them in an encrypted database behind one master password.
Both can import from other password management applications, both can auto fill password fields in web forms and both can automatically create strong passwords for you to use. There are, however, some differences worth noting.
Firstly, KeePass is open source like Linux while LastPass is closed source like Windows. This may lead some people to conclude that KeePass is the more secure of the two, but that may not be the case at all – Is Open Source Software More Secure?
Another key difference is that LastPass stores your passwords online whereas KeePass does not. While some people may not be entirely comfortable with their passwords being stored on the LastPass servers, it’s important to note that the data is encrypted before it leaves your computer and can only be decrypted by somebody who knows your master password. Further, online password storage enables you to keep your passwords synchronized between multiple computers – something that KeePass cannot (natively) do.
Finally, while both applications are very easy to use, LastPass is probably somewhat easier. While both applications can fill forms, with KeePass the process is not entirely automatic but achieved via hot keys or copy and paste. With LastPass, however, the process can be entirely automated and you can set it to log you into a particular site as soon as you land on it.
Which is better, KeePass or LastPass?
Which should you choose? You really can’t go wrong with either, but KeePass probably has slightly more geek appeal while LastPass is probably the best bet for people who are looking for the most straightforward solution possible.
If you know of any other great password managers or have a password security tip that’d you like to share, please leave a comment!