In this post not only am I going to tell you all about this amazing application, I’m giving you a chance to win 1 of 2 copies, kindly donated by the amazing folks over at Agile Web Solutions.
So, you have about a dozen email accounts, a list of forums longer than your arm, your online banking, all those must have members only sites and just about every other website under the sun that in some way wants you to remember some form of authentication to get through the gates. The simple, and by far the most insecure, way of handling this would be to have a single password to all these sites, even worse it’s a dictionary password or something so obvious even a dog could guess it (yes that’s right Beiju, I do mean you!)
So, the best way to handle all those logins is to have multiple passwords, all über secure and all so hard to remember you’ll have to reset your password on said site every time you visit, well that’s where 1Password from Agile Web Solutions comes in.
1Password is an application for OS X Tiger and Leopard that lets you manage your passwords for multiple sites, stores secure notes, financial details, your personal details to fill in forms and much more. It contains a plug in for most modern browsers including Safari, Firefox, Camino, Fluid and even the browser component of NetNewsWire.
The name 1Password comes from the way the application secures all these various details. You have a single password (called the Master Password) which unlocks the 1Password Keychain and grants you access to all your sensitive data. Obviously it’s important to make this password secure, if someone gets hold of your Mac and you have a weak password protecting your 1Password keychain, then it’s pretty much game over.
So how does 1Password collect and store your details? Well there’s a browser component to 1Password, in Safari it’s just a little icon on the toolbar, but in Firefox you get the button plus the extra 1Password Toolbar which gives you access to some of the best features, including the very simple to use ‘Generate Password’ toolbox. Whenever you sign into a website that uses a standard <form> method of collecting your login details 1Password will ask you if you want to save these details to it’s keychain, you can name the entry and even file the login under different folders for various groupings of login details.
Once you start to build up a library of logins in your 1Password keychain you’ll want to manage these easily, and Agile have really thought this out, you just a launch the 1Password application itself and once you unlock the keychain you are presented with the amazingly simple, yet still powerful, main window
As you can see the main window gives you access to all the features of 1Password and lets you manage the secure information you have stored within, you’ll also notice the features to sync to both an iPhone / iPod Touch running the corresponding free 1Password app (App Store link) and a Palm OS based device (nice to see a bit of nostalgia there, I admit to being a former Palm Tungsten T2 owner).
You can see the sort of things you can store securely, and in most cases restore into web sites very simply, the fact I no longer have to keep fishing out my debit or credit card when I need to fill them in non-PayPal enabled sites is just one of the reasons I love this app. 1Password really does take password management far beyond the scope of the built in tools in your browser and, at least for me, is my complete solution for storing secure data in an easy to access way and with the syncronisation with 1Password on my iPhone I can easily carry that data around with me, knowing it’s safe from prying eyes.
Oh and one other awesome feature I really must mention, with a little bit of setup you can get your 1Password keychain syncing across multiple machines using the awesome DropBox service, and of course MobileMe if you have an account. This has saved my bacon on so many ocassions when I’ve moved back to the family iMac for various reasons and have needed to login to the uber secure website I needed at the time but couldn’t remember the password for the life of me.
I could spend all month writing a detailed how-to guide on 1Password, and I honeslty doubt I’d scratch the surface of what it can do. So I think I’ll hand you over to my good friend and fellow podcaster Don McAllister from from ScreenCastsOnline to show you a bit more about the App in his two screencasts SCO078 and SCO129, of course if you want to get the full versions of the shows make sure you go and sign up using the nice banner on our sidebar, which helps both IMP and Don.
So, I hinted that you may be able to win one of two copies of this amazing application kindly donated by the folks at Agile Web Solutions, well I didn’t just write that to entice you to read the rest of the post, but hey that’s not a bad idea for future posts, I kid of course! So what do you need to do, well I liked Sebastian’s idea of making you interact with the post by leaving a comment on this post telling us why you think you should get one of the copies, and for a bit of fun why not tell us the most obvious and most obscure passwords you could think of (obviously don’t tell us one that you actually use, or we’ll have to send Bart to deal with you for such behaviour!)
Our usual terms and conditions apply (cue Connor’s sound byte!) : one entry per human being, IMP team members are prohibited from taking part in the competition, oh and of course keep the comments clean any naughtiness will result in your comment not being aproved and you wouldn’t want that now would you?