Someone told me recently that they had 22 different log-in IDs. My first thought was, you must get out more. My second thought was, how do you remember 22 different Web services, let alone log-in IDs and passwords?
The answer, of course, is a password manager. These days, I see PC security as a form of insurance. The more you have to risk, the more you should spend to protect it. Anyone who banks or otherwise transacts online will find the investment in a password and personal-data manager worthwhile. Fortunately, if your password-management needs are meager, the protection doesn't have to cost you anything.
Siber Systems recently announced the beta version of RoboForm Online that lets RoboForm users store their log-in data securely online. Just log into the service from any browser and get fast access to the IDs you've saved on your PC. With just one you're logged into your favorite Web sites.
The first time you use the program, you're prompted to enter a master password. You can change the master password via the program's Options drop-down menu and selecting Security settings, but if you forget a master password, you have to delete all the password-protected files and start over.
There's no end to the amount of personal data you can store in RoboForm. Along with the standard contact information, you can enter your Social Security number, credit-card and bank-account numbers, and employer information. You can even create custom fields. All the information is protected with industrial-strength encryption.
When you register for the online version of the service, you're prompted to download the free GoodSync synchronization program. You have to use a different password than the one you use to access your data via the desktop version of the program. To sync passwords among multiple PCs, simply log in from each machine.
RoboForm will generate strong passwords for you. It works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and just about any other browser. The program is available for free, but some features are disabled after 30 days unless you pay $30. There's even a portable version that runs off a USB thumbdrive. But the new online version appeals to me. If your data is going into the cloud, it might as well be encrypted.