Review: PasswordSafe

All of us have personal information that we need constantly but cannot risk – usernames, passwords, account numbers etc.

Personally I recommend using a tri-level username/password system

  1. A standard easy-to-remember combination for websites where I post help, feedback and opinions, and would lose nothing if someone were to impersonate me.
  2. A second level for services that I pay for, such as phone, cable service etc. If someone were to hack this (somewhat more secure) password combination they could cause me some grief but no major headaches. If someone wants to pay my phone bill, I say let them.
  3. A third-level password that has letters, numbers, mixed-case and special characters and is as "uncrackable" as I can make it, is used to access the most secure personal or financial data. This password is used ONLY where strictly necessary; the less places it is used the less chance that it can be compromised and stolen.

However, that approach is not enough. Some websites insist on assigning us peculiar usernames that we cannot change, and some have different password standards, so one username/password combination does not work, nor should it.

With this in mind, we need a way to store such information such that it is easily accessible yet safe from prying or curious eyes. Password Safe is my preferred solution. Verified by Bruce Schneier, the author of the Blowfish and Twofish encryption algorithms, Password Safe is an small Windows program that unzips into a directory, required no installation and stores your data in a small, tightly-encrypted file. I keep mine on a flash drive. The program takes up 290k, my database (which has 32 entries) is 5k in size.

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