By Eric Guth
Just about every product or service on the Internet requires, at some point, a user name and password to access an account, forum, user area, etc. Often, this requires using a user name or email address and a password. Most people that I know use the same user name and password for all of their on-line transactions, from banking to Yahoo Forum to MySpace. There is an obvious danger by using the same password for every account, regardless of how important. If the password is discovered, then everything that you use on the Internet is wide open to thieves.
Passwords used by most people are easy to guess with a little detective work on the Internet. Some Internet searches about people reveal enough information to figure out what passwords they are using. Birth dates, pet names, etc are poplar and common. Genealogy websites have lots of information that include “maiden” names and birthdates. However, this opens the door to identity theft and the potential loss of money and time from on-line fraud. The most secure password is one that is generated from random numbers and letters. The longer the string of characters, the more secure is the password. I use at least 10 characters now in my on-line passwords. I change them at least once a year to keep the bad guys out of my accounts.
For many years, I used a password management program called Passman Plus from www.ijen.net. It has been a great product to manage my hundreds of passwords generated from random numbers and characters. I could not possibly keep track of all of them, so Passman does it for me as a memory resident program running on my PC. When I need a new password, it generates it and saves it to a new record. When I need to log into one of my accounts, such as the bank, I bring up Passman and cut and paste my password into the fields. This was fine for me until I discovered RoboForm.
RoboForm is great since it now automates all of the form filling that I was doing by cutting and pasting from Passman. It resides on my computer as a tool bar on my Internet Explorer or Firefox. I only have to remember one password to open RoboForm. It generates passwords, stores them, and keeps track of any other information that is required to fill out an on-line form and submit it securely. If I want to log into Chase Manhattan Bank, I find the RoboForm link from a drop down menu on my browser, enter the only the master password that I have to remember, and push a button. RoboForm logs into Chase with my username and password (12 characters randomly generated). The process is almost instantaneous. I do not have to cut and paste the password since RoboForm fills out the form automatically.
I have hundreds of logins, user names, and passwords in RoboForm now. This makes use of my online accounts fast and just as easy as selecting a website from my Internet Favorites. What is better, is that I have multiple computers that have RoboForm running on them. When I update a password or create a new one on one computer, RoboForm updates the information on another. RoboForm makes a Palm Pilot version, so that I have secure and encrypted access to my passwords on my Palm T|X when I am traveling away from my computers. This makes it possible for me to conduct most of my business from other people’s computers when away from the home office thereby eliminating the need to carry a laptop computer through airport security. RoboForm now makes a disk on key version of their product so that you have access to RoboForm features in a computer café or on other people’s computers when you plug your disk on key into the USB port. Once you are finished, there is no “residue” from the program left on the borrowed computer.
Another cool feature is that RoboForm will fill out on line forms and applications automatically once you load business and personal contact information into it. If I buy something on line or request product information, RoboForm will automatically fill out all of the fields on the form with the press of a button. I have multiple “identities” that allow me to select the right one for the form that I am using. This saves lots of time and the need to look up information this is not frequently used. Again, RoboForm is secure and requires my single password that I enter to activate its features. Anyone using my computer cannot activate any of my RoboForm links without this password.
In summary, RoboForm:
- Memorizes your passwords and Logs You In automatically.
- Fills in long registration and checkout forms with one click.
- Encrypts your passwords to achieve complete security.
- Generates random passwords that hackers cannot guess.
- Fights Phishing by filling passwords only on matching web sites.
- Defeats Keyloggers by not using keyboard to type passwords.
- Backs up your passwords, Copies them between computers.
- Synchronizes passwords between computers using GoodSync.
- Searches for keywords in your passwords, notes and Internet.
- Portable: RoboForm2Go runs from USB key, no install needed.
- PDA-friendly: sync your passwords to Pocket PC and Palm.
- Neutral: works with Internet Explorer, AOL/MSN, Firefox.
RoboForm was named PC Magazine Editor’s Choice, and CNET Download.com’s Software of the Year. We at Efrat Networks thinks it is a great productivity tool and worth owning. It is one of our favorite applications. Click on any one of the RoboForm hyperlinks and download a trial version today.