NOTE: This blog post provides the information included in the Play Date on September 26th. If you missed the Play Date, you can view the recording or read the post below. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments or contact your system staff. We’ll be happy to help!
Password Management Made Easy
Keeping track of all of the user IDs and passwords you end up with when playing with online tools can be taxing, to say the least. But there are free online tools available that can help you not only track this information, but also help you log in to your secure accounts more quickly. Examples include, but aren’t limited to, Passpack, Clipperz, and Passbay.
For this Play Date, we’ll be focusing on Passpack. After playing around with several free tools, I felt Passpack was by far the easiest to use and had the nicest interface. It was also named “The Best Free Software” in February 2008 by PC Magazine, and there’s lots more buzz about it in other news.
(Rather than duplicate a lot of the screenshots from my presentation in this blog post, I’ll rely on you to either view the OPAL recording or try it out yourself.)
Here’s some basic info about Passpack:
- you can save up to 100 passwords for free (you can pay for more)
- store any account information you like — registration numbers, notes, Frequent Flyer miles, passwords, whatever you want to keep private, but NOT financial data!
- you can access your account any time, any place, from any computer connected to the Internet OR use their desktop or offline version, so you can access your data without the Internet
- there is no software to install — it’s all web-based
- Passpack is secure and cannot read your private data
- you can import, export, and backup your passwords
- you can create disposable logins to use when traveling and/or logging in on public or shared computers
To set up a Passpack account, go to http://www.passpack.com and click on the red Sign Up badge in the upper right corner. Passpack offers several options for creating your user ID:
Follow the instructions for your choice of the above options to create your account. You’ll create a Packing Key the first time you log in, which is what will keep your passwords secret.
Getting Started - The Home Page
Once you’re logged in, the Home page will display by default (but you can change this later). This gives you information about your account, like how many entries you have saved, if you have confirmed your email address, and what features you have enabled. Help videos and a FAQ link are also included.
To access your passwords or to begin adding passwords, click on the Passwords tab.
Saving passwords couldn’t be easier. Just click on the + Add New button! or “Click to add a password.” A form will open for you to fill in, asking for:
- Title (used to alpha list your accounts, for example: Flickr, United, Wordpress, etc.)
- User ID (your username for the site you’re saving)
- Email (the email address associated with that site)
- Password (the password for that site - Passpack will generate secure passwords for you!)
- Link (the URL for that site)
- Tags (keywords you want to use to access this site)
- Notes (any additional info about this login you would like saved with it)
Click OK to add your new password. When you’ve added a new password, a red Save All button will appear. This is a handy reminder to you to save your info before walking away from your computer.
You can also import passwords already saved in another program. They must be either comma or tab delimited values or in one of the formats included on the Import Passwords page in Passpack. And if you’d like to save your passwords outside of Passpack, too, you can export them to comma or tab separated values or a printable HTML table. You can also backup your data to your computer, so that you can restore from a backup if you ever need to.
The Passwords Page
Your passwords will be listed alphabetically by entry title on the Passwords page, but if you like to access your info in different ways, you can do that, too. You can search your passwords by keyword in the search box at the upper left on the Passwords page. You can also find your passwords by tags or include them in a list of your favorites for quick access.
The GO column provides a quick link to the URL you included for each entry.
ENTRY TITLE is what you named each account you saved. I usually make my entry title the name of the site I want to access. This is what you would click on to edit or delete an entry.
The ICONS show you what information you saved in each entry: username, email, password, URL,tags, and notes. You can tell Passpack not to show the icons in the settings if they aren’t helpful to you.
The TAGS column shows you which tags you associated with each entry. You can also find a tag cloud of all your entries to the right of this info on the Passwords page, and you can use the cloud to navigate through your entries. Great for quick access to similar sites!
The FAVORITES & SECURITY column tells you if an entry has been saved as a favorite. You can save the sites you access most often as a favorite by clicking on the star in this column. You can then tell Passpack to only open your favorites upon logging in or simply click on the favorites star to the right to supply your favorites list.
I keep all of my logins at maximum security, but you can change their security level if you so choose by clicking on the lock in this column.
Changing Some Settings
Once you’ve set up your account, there are some settings I would recommend you take care of before saving your passwords. You can access your account settings by clicking on the Settings link in the upper right portion of the window. This is where you would change your user ID, Pass, Packing Key, or even delete your account. But let’s start with Preferences.
Packing and Saving
Tell Passpack how long you want your account to remain open if left inactive. For example, if you are using Passpack but then walk away from your computer, how long would you want your account to remain open and visible before locking up?
You can also set Passpack to automatically save any changes you’ve made when it locks up, rather than having to save things manually.
Tell Passpack what page you would like to go to when you sign in. Home is the default, but I prefer going right to my Passwords to save time.
Select an option for what Passpack should do next. I recommend “Unpack everything - then turn on 1 Click Login.”
Now let’s change one Security option under Welcome Message.
Setting a personal welcome message will help protect you from phishing attacks. Tell Passpack YES, you want it to show the screen with 8 boxes during sign in (this may be set already as the default). You can also tell Passpack to remember you on this computer, but only do that if your computer isn’t shared with someone else.
Once Passpack’s auto-login feature is activated, you’ll be able to click a Passpack It! button in your browser to login to any site you’ve saved a password for. This feature will save you loads of time logging into secure sites. If you haven’t changed your settings to have Auto-login turned on at start up, here’s how to activate it:
- Click on the down arrow by Auto-login in the upper right portion of the window.
- Click on “Turn it on” if it says “1 Click Login is off.”
- Click on the down arrow by Auto-login again.
- Click on “Install your button” to add the Passpack It! button to your browser.
- You will either be able to drag the button to your links toolbar or add it to your favorites, depending on which browser you are using.
NOTE: To use your Passpack It! button, you will need to be logged in to Passpack already. It’s easy to keep Passpack open, while navigating to other sites in another tab in your browser.
Lock it up! or Logout
If you’re walking away from your computer for a time, you will want to use the Lock it up! button in the upper right corner of the window. This will lock your account, but keeps Passpack open so you can login quickly when you return.
If you’re done using Passpack, be sure to Logout with the link in the upper left corner of the window.
Passpack is constantly developing their product, so some of the screenshots in my OPAL slides and this post may become quickly outdated. Their site includes lots of good info and help videos (though I wish the videos were larger and moved more slowly), so be sure to explore that for more information. There’s even a blog where you can keep up on their latest developments. If you have additional questions about the info shared above, please post them in the comments or contact me.
I’ve been missing the fun extras we used to include in Semester 1 and 2, so I’m reinstating them! Try out www.txt2pic.com for some fun image generating. Upload your own photograph or choose from their huge list of templates. Here’s my attempt:
, password manager