Simplest way to keep your passwords secure on OSX
Over the years I have heard from many folks that want to keep one master password and then store other passwords secure using the master password. As our dependence on the internet grows and everything goes online, this is becoming more and more of an issue. Many places have policies for passwords that cannot be repeated and have to be changed frequently, and the average user these day will have a dozen passwords to remember. Its not easy…..specially if you don’t want them all to be 1234567 🙂
My solution has always been to use patterned passwords that somehow relate to each site, but also have a common element that is the same for all sites. This way, so long as I remember my pattern, I can have infinitely different passwords and they can be very complex. Using foreign words also helps make the passwords just that much more secure. Alas, even this approach has reached its limites for me and I am now at a point where I am frequently clicking the ‘Forgot password’ link.
That is why when I came across 1Password 3, I was pretty ecstatic. Its a solid program with a whole lot of integration options so you won’t even have to type in those passwords anymore. It costs $39.95 for a single license but it was way more than I needed. In any case, I had been debating purchasing it, until I ran into keychain issues on my OSX and had to toy around with the keychain for the first time and there it was.
The OSX keychain has all of this functionality built in. It can keep track of passwords, certificates and notes, which was all I needed. So if you don’t need the integrations and extra features that 1Password offers, the next best alternative is to use the Keychain Access tool that comes with OSX.
Be sure to go to its preferences and set it to show status in the Menu Bar. That makes it much easier to access.