Technology

Account security

January 14, 2008

Security is a hot topic for me these days. I have been wanting to find a good solution for storing all of my account data. Who can remember 50 user names and passwords? I am now using two things to accomplish this:

  1. ID Vault
  2. LockNote

ID Vault

How it works
It’s an actual USB drive that is password protected. You also have to have the software installed on the PC where you’re using it. You set up an account and then you’re able to select from a list. After you select it, it logs into the site for you using it’s own secure browser.

Advantages

  1. Very secure. (You need hardware, software, and password to get in.)
  2. Insured for up to a million dollars!
  3. Easy to log in.
  4. Stores credit card numbers.

Disadvantages

  1. Time consuming to set up accounts. I had trouble with setting up a few.
  2. A little more trouble to go to ID Vault and log into an account if you’re a serial browser like me and are already on the site in Firefox.
  3. It’s portable, but not. Since you have to have the software installed on the PC to use it.
  4. It only saves the actual user name and password. If there’s more than that – you’re out of luck. (Example: Ebay – I have my regular log-in plus a seller billpoint security key, etc.)

I think I will end up using this for my main bank accounts and credit cards, but not for everything else as it cramps my style a little too much.

LockNote

How it works
It’s VERY simple – that’s the beauty of it. It’s a password protected text file that’s an executable (.exe).

Advantages

  1. You can put it anywhere you like – hard drive, USB drive, whatever.
  2. You can store various types of information – it’s just a text file. So, you can list any and all secure information.

Disadvantages

  1. Don’t know of any yet!

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  • I have been using a slight alternative – TrueCrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org) – which lets you encrypy either an entire device, or a file on that device that you then mount as a fake drive.

    One of the nice things about TrueCrypt is you can choose the encryption you want to use.

    I have been using it with my USB keyring for ages.

  • Mike

    I’ve been using a combination of two programs:

    1. PasswordSafe – When it comes to security, I take Bruce Schneier’s opinion very seriously. He literally wrote the book on cryptogrpahy.

    You can get the program here: http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/
    And get the scoop on Schneier here: http://www.schneier.com/index.html

    2. ElephantDrive – I use PasswordSafe to manage the data, and I save backup copies to my ElephantDrive account. The free version gives you up to a GB, way more than you’ll need for your PasswordSafe backup file. This way, if anything ever happens to your PC you can get everything back.

    Get ElephantDrive here: http://www.elephantdrive.com/