I just signed up for the family subscription of 1Password. This is a password management tool. We have not used something this before, but I am impressed so far. The cost for the family is $5 a month.
Digital security is a must-have in todays world.
Just to jump to the end of why you may want to consider doing something like this:
- It’s an excuse to clean up all your passwords
- Better security than stored in chrome
- Sites that use two factor authentication become easier (for you) to login
- A place to store secret text that your family needs if something happens to you
- A better alerting system if any of your passwords are leaked
- Nice integration for biometrics like Windows Hello or a thumbprint scanner
Once you buy the subscription you have to download and install Desktop application, the Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox extensions, plus the mobile application. It looks like they support all of the obvious platforms. Of course, I downloaded the beta version.
Next, you go into Chrome and export your passwords. After doing that, you delete all the passwords from Chrome. Also tell the browser to stop asking to save passwords. Repeat for other browsers.
At this point, you have probably hundreds of passwords in 1Password. My next step was to go through them to clean up. Some steps:
- Rename to make it easier to sort and browse. This is huge for the next step.
- Deduplicate. You have many saved passwords for one site. You can add multiple websites to one site to consolidate.
- Deactivate/Delete accounts you no longer want (not just delete password)
- Update bad passwords using their suggested passwords
- Enable two-factor authentication
After doing all of that, I got mine down to 89 Logins. The whole process took several hours. It’s annoying but I did feel digitally cleaner afterwards.
I also set up all of my 1Password apps to use Windows Hello or my fingerprint as a login. This way, I didn’t have to remember my 1Password login at all.
Ease of Use
Once I had it set up, I actually found it quite easy to use. You just go to the site and it fills in everything. The only password you ever really use is the one for your iPassword account. I set mine to timeout after 20 minutes, but on my phone it uses my thumbprint and on the desktop it uses Windows Hello. So I don’t even use that password. In the end, I almost can forget about passwords altogether.
This is truly the best case scenario for usability. No passwords.
Whenever possible use the suggested crazy passwords. Some websites will actively make this difficult. Some refuse to accept symbols and others complain if the password is more than 16 characters. This is somewhat insane and makes it harder for people to secure their data.
After cleaning up, I checked the “Watchtower” which tells you if there are any problems. You want as many “Fantastic” Passwords as you can set up.
What if I use someone else’s computer?
This was the biggest question that we had. The bottom line is that using a public computer and logging into sensitive systems is dangerous. The best practice is to use your phone 1Password as your two-factor authentication. In the cases where you commonly need to do this, make your password easy to type in, but also secure. A common secure password in this case is a sentence. For example, your password could be:
My 1 dog Leroy has the golden glow!
This sentence has capital letters, numbers, symbols and is very long. However, it is easy to type in and remember. You only want to do this for sites that you regularly need to log into via a public computer.
I am convinced that this is a good expenditure of money and has significant benefits. 1Password doesn’t even store your passwords. The usability is good once you set it up properly. I feel better about my passwords without sacrificing usability. Thank you to Ethan (my oldest son) for suggesting 1Password.