I’m not a tech write but have programmed for years, maintained networks and still get called upon for ideas on the latest ways to do things, particularly for smaller businesses. When I visit people’s desktops I’m surprised how few use password managers. I’ve used RoboForm for years, and I’m here to tell you how I use it and hopefully convince you they are worth having. I say they because RoboForm isn’t the only password manager out there. So if I convince you of their value you can research which one is appropriate for you. RoboForm has worked fine for me for years, so I’m here to talk about it.
What it Does For You
I use it for retail shopping, log-ins, bookmarks and passwords. In that order! Let’s say you go to a page to register online. You are asked to create a username and password. You type in your username, let’s say “Michael”, and it asks you to put in a password, one with capitals, small, characters and numbers. We all know what it’s like to first, think of one, and second, to feel the clock ticking when it says “not strong enough” and you have to start again. With RoboForm, you click the Generate button, and voila! Your password is there and ready to go. And it’s strong enough! What about logins. Well, let’s say it’s time to renew your AAA auto membership. Once a year you do this and we all know what it’s like to dig through your books to find the log in. RoboForm to the rescue! At the bottom of your screen (version 7 is at the top, I use version 8) is an icon that says AAA on it. I click on it and it enters both my username and password. Of course, before I use any of these features I have to enter my Master password, to prove it’s me sitting at the computer. Next, let’s say I’m ordering something online. I get to the page that says “checkout as guest” and it asks me to enter my shipping, billing and charge cards detaiIls. Ouch! But with RoboForm I click Michael Emerald, and all of this information is entered automatically.
Not a whole lot to describe here. It’s like any other windows installation. Once you install it, though, RoboForm will ask you for a Master Password. This is the password that unlocks everything you have stored in it. So make it one you aren’t going to forget! As we’ll see, password managers allow you to use strong passwords all over the place, but for your Master Password you probably don’t want uPPuam3e. By the way, in as long as it took you to read that password, that’s how long it took RoboForm to generate it for me. I’ll discuss this further, below.
But is it safe to have all of your passwords stored in one place, electronically? Me, I’ve always been more worried about someone stealing my password notebook along with my laptop than taking the time to break into my computer, find, if any, a password file, etc. But RoboForm goes beyond all that. Because your information is encrypted. So, the only way they can get the information is to first break into your computer, second, guess you welcome screen password, and third guess my Master Password. How likely is that? For me, it’s a lot less likely than stealing a paper notebook that sits next to my computer and says “Passwords”!
I’ll discuss version 8 of RoboForm, which I installed today, in a later installment of these technology posts.
Michael Emerald, CFA
Wall Street Analyst and owner, Performance Business Design