April 14, 2012, 7:44 AM — We live in a password-driven world. You need one to access the company network, one to sign into Twitter, one for your American Express business account, and on and on.
That's why I'm convinced a good password manager is worth its weight in gold. And by "good" I mean one that syncs seamlessly between your desktop and your mobile devices. If you use one that exists only on, say, your smartphone, how does that help you if your phone goes missing?
I've tried lots of these tools over the years. Right now I'm liking mSeven Software's newly updated mSecure 3.1, a cross-platform password manager packed with every feature I consider essential.
For starters, it's available for Android and iOS as well as Windows and Mac. You can sync your mobile devices with your desktop via Wi-Fi -- no physical connection required. And mSecure can also sync with your Dropbox account, effectively giving you a cloud-based backup.
Furthermore, mSecure lives up to its name by employing 256-bit Blowfish encryption, meaning if someone wants access to your info, they'll need an army of servers and several years to get it. The software also offers a self-destruct option, meaning it will wipe the database after five, 10, or 20 failed attempts to input the right password.
Like all good programs of its kind, mSecure can automatically generate secure passwords for you. What it lacks is any kind of auto-fill capability, so at the very least you'll have to copy and paste your passwords into things like Web forms. (That's okay in my book; I always found auto-fill kind of a self-defeating feature.)
I especially like mSecure's Auto-Copy option, which can automatically copy a username and/or password to the clipboard when you open a matching URL in your browser. Then just paste them in and you're good to go. (That beats auto-fill because a thief wouldn't know the data was in the clipboard.)
The latest version of the program (3.1) supports 11 different languages and comes with 130 new icons for better personalizing your records.
The desktop versions of mSecure cost $19.99 apiece, while the Android and iOS apps each cost $9.99. That's fairly competitive among password managers, and a small price to pay to safeguard critical data.
Of course, there are other great password managers out there, no question. My advice: use one of them.