Don't forget your Passport

Keep your passwords handy but secure with this easy-to-use program.

For many of us, almost every aspect of our personal business is online now: banking, bill paying, insurance, personal correspondence, and much more. Strong passwords are a good idea, and Web sites are increasingly requiring that users create more complex passwords and change them more frequently. That's all well and good, until you can't remember the password yourself. Passport is an extremely simple program that can store all of your passwords securely. It's a great choice even for people who aren't particularly computer-savvy but who know the importance of computer security.

The program's interface is plain and straightforward, with a handful of buttons across the top that represent its major features. You first set a master password that controls access to the program itself; this is one that you definitely don't want to forget, as there's no way to recover it. Then it's simply a matter of entering the passwords you want to remember. These can be arranged in predefined categories such as e-mail, social networks, home banking, and so on. Enter your username and then either record your existing password or have Passport generate a new one for you automatically; you can specify the length and included character types. The program lets you toggle between displaying the username and password and displaying asterisks instead, a nice feature if you want to protect your information from nearby prying eyes. Even when the asterisks are displayed, you can copy usernames and passwords to the clipboard and then paste them into the desired field. An online Help file provides a brief overview of the program's features, but most users probably won't need it. Overall, we found Passport to be an easy way to keep track of passwords, and we recommend it.

Passport installs politely but leaves a folder behind upon removal.

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