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First Look: 1Password, password manager

updated 04:50 pm EDT, Thu May 1, 2008

First Look: 1Password

Everyone knows the importance of passwords. The problem is that the more websites you use, the more separate passwords you may need for each site, such as one for your account, and another for your Yahoo e-mail. Remembering a single password is easy, but the more you need to remember, the harder it becomes. What most people do is choose a single, easy-to-remember password, and use that on every website, which drastically lowers their security. A better solution is to create difficult passwords that are unique for each page; to make this task easy, consider using a program like 1Password.

The basic idea behind the program is to manage multiple passwords and store them in a single location. To access the bulk of your passwords, you only need to remember a single master one.

To save and enter passwords, the program integrates with your web browser, and is compatible with platforms such as Safari and Firefox, along with lesser-known browsers such as OmniWeb, Camino, Flock, and DEVONAgent.

When you visit a site that requests a password, you just have to type in the required information once, and tell 1Password to store it in a Save Form. Now the next time you visit this site, the program will recognize it, so you can click the Restore Form option in order to enter your password and user/account name automatically. This not only frees you from the tedium of typing passwords yourself, but prevents keystroke loggers from snaring your information as you type it in.

Often you may have several accounts on a site, each with a different password. In these cases, the program has no problem storing separate passwords under different user or account names. When you visit a site that asks for a password, just choose an account name and 1Password automatically inserts the correct data for that account.

It's possible to store multiple accounts and passwords to access a single site

For further security, the program can not only store passwords, but help you generate stronger ones consisting of letters, numbers and random characters. Since you don't have to worry about remembering anything, strange, convoluted passwords can become practical. All you need to worry about is using them, not the details.

As an added bonus, 1Password also offers a special Secure Notes feature, which lets you jot down information. Unlike the ordinary Sticky Notes program that comes with Mac OS X, which lets anyone access your notes, nobody can read your Secure Notes unless they know your access password.

If you shop online, the program can store your credit card information so you can access it without having to type it in each time. This again not only saves time, but defeats keystroke loggers intended for identity theft.

For maximum compatibility, 1Password can import previously stored passwords saved in a variety of programs including Safari, Camino, KeePassX, eWallet or RoboForm, among others. Such importing capability means you can switch password programs easily without having to remember and re-enter all your logins.

If you have a Palm, iPod Touch, or iPhone, you can sync your passwords from your Mac to your handheld device. Now you can use your saved passwords in both realms.

For $34.95, 1Password offers a rare combination of convenience and security. You may not necessarily need this type of program, but once you see the benefits after using the free 30-day trial version, you may definitely want it for everyday use.

by MacNN Staff



  1. pysan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I tried this after reading about it briefly, and after 10 minutes I couldn't live w/o it! I paid for it at the end of the trial period, and would recommend it to any mac user. It is so much easier than keeping a huge page or some other form of usernames/passwords, and far, far more secure!

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What pysan said...

    Amen, brother! This is another one of those kind of utilities that Apple should pay the developer a whole lot of money for and then roll it into OS X. Another one is VueScan.

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What pysan said...

    Amen, brother! This is another one of those kind of utilities that Apple should pay the developer a whole lot of money for and then roll it into OS X. Another one is VueScan.

  1. sfmitch

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Big Fan

    I think 1Password is a great App. I really can't imagine having to do without it. I can't recommend it highly enough. The developer is a nice guy (I met him at Macworld) and keeps pumping out updates. Built in iPhone integration is a huge bonus.

  1. Macaholic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Awesome program!

    1Password makes it incredibly easy to generate and retrieve strong passwords. I, too, cannot imagine being without this program anymore. I use it multiple times every day. The secure password data also easily transfers to my Tungsten E2 (and my soon to be purchased iPhone...). The developers are ALWAYS readily available by e-mail and web forum and respond rapidly to program issues. This is truly one great and very well supported program.

  1. syzygi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great utility!

    I agree with the above plus the developers keep tireless attention on browser updates and fixing bugs. So when Firefox 3.0 comes out you can bet 1PW will be updated in a day or so to be compatible.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Force Password Change

    This is great and all but of all the "password managers" I have seen, none of them force a password change after x-many days. This is a deal breaker for the Mac OS being implemented into many businesses. If anyone knows of an app that forces a system password change after, say, 30 days, it is much appreciative.

  1. khiltd

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's ironic that a product dedicated to security depends upon a security hole in Safari in order to stuff its code into places it doesn't belong. Once Hyatt gets around to closing it you're out $35.

  1. G2G2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yeah Baby!!

    This is one of those can't live without it apps. Makes life so much easier and safer. The developers are very responsive and are constantly updating.

  1. poulh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    diffs with keychain?

    not trying to be a hater, but how is this different than keychain? I have all sorts of important numbers in it as well as my web page passwords.

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