One password, two passwords, three passwords, four passwords… “n” passwords! To be honest, I have no idea how many different passwords I currently use on the sites I visit on a regular basis. Speaking about security, I think that no torture in this world could make me reveal my passwords, the reason for this being very simple, without involving my high pain tolerance: I simply can’t remember most of my passwords!
Well, we’re not going to talk (only) about password generation today, since there’s something even better to Passport, the program under the scope today: passwords management!
Passport 1.0 is still in Beta, but since it works like a charm for me, I decided to tell you about it before the first official & stable release comes out. After all, we’re talking about a completely free piece of code that works with Windows XP, Vista and 7, all in both their 32 and 64 bit flavors, so why not take it for a spin?
With only 224 KB, the archive containing the setup package is really tiny, so everyone should be able to easily download it. Same thing goes for the setup process itself, since all you need is 475 KB of free disk space, a computer that is able to run at least the Windows version installed on it and, most important of all, there’s nothing to worry about – no toolbars, no spyware, no options that will make you look for a dictionary before messing with them…
While Passport 1.0 doesn’t have any offline documentation yet and not even online help (only a FAQ that answers to the “Why do I need a password manager?” question…), it’s good to know that it comes in English/Arabic/Russian, with additional languages expected to become available in the near future (Hungarian is also available as a separate download). Using it is really easy and its looks… well, its looks aren’t really bad, but I know they can be improved – at least some better icons, come on!!!
While Passport doesn’t start with this one, you really have to know about the password generator NOW! Sure, you can find Web-based password generators and also a lot of programs include such a tool, so Passport’s password generator isn’t an innovation and it’s not even the best password generator I’ve ever seen but that’s not the idea. What seems ridiculous to me is the fact that, if you want to generate a 300 characters password, you can. In fact, I have no idea what’s the limit. Anyway, not even Lassange used 300 characters-long passwords, so…
As I said earlier, working with this program is really easy, so you won’t find an incredible amount of features, either – after all, this is a password manager, not an all-in-one utility, right? When you open it up for the first time, you should create a new password storage bin (that’s how I like to call it; basically, it’s an encrypted file used to store all your accounts) and assign a password to it, the only password you’ll need to remember from now on. Sure, you can also choose a password that you can’t remember and have it stored somewhere REALLY SAFE… your call!
Adding accounts and information for each of them is really easy, each of your entries containing the following information: group (choose from a bunch of predefined ones or create a new one when needed), title, user name and password (the Add Entry window allows you to generate password with a single click), URL and, finally, Notes – if any, of course.
While entering information is really easy, taking it out isn’t as easy as I’d like. For example, I would really like to see some integration with a Web browser, since now you have to copy and paste the user name and password separately and I think this is a complete waste of time. After all, why not use the password manager included with Opera, for example?
Basically, this is all there is to know about Passport, but you still have a bunch of little things to discover, such as automatic password generation or… you’ll see, but only if you give Passport a chance, of course!
Tips & Tricks
1. As it usually happens when talking about programs that have something to do with passwords, I say it again: never go with passwords that can be easily remembered or guessed!
2. While Passport is not available as a portable software, nothing stops you from moving around with the database stored on a memory stick. Just install Passport on all the computers you’re using!
3. Just to be extra-safe in case something goes wrong, feel free to keep a few safety copies of the database around – it’s protected by a password, anyway, so you can store it anywhere, as long as your master password complies with the golden rule mentioned above as the first tip today.
Passport is a very easy way of getting the job done. Version 1.0 Beta already looks and feels great, although a bunch of improvements would also be great.
A nice set of icons would be nice, not to mention some documentation and a portable version or at least a browser addon. Oh, yeah, I don’t know if this is going to happen, but at least let me dream about versions for Android and Apple’s iPad!
Original? No. Outstanding? Not yet, but at least Passport 1.0 Beta works better than some programs with huge version numbers but hilarious features and reliability. Since we’re talking about a free program that has no real problem that would keep people away from it, I think you should go ahead and take Passport for a spin, especially if you have more accounts/passwords than you can remember… Good luck and keep it safe!