Security

RoboForm Eliminates Password Post-Its

If you're like me and you have one, two or three simple user names and passwords that you spread around dozens of corporate and public Web sites -- or you want to get rid of the Post-it notes from your monitor -- you may want to consider a technology from Siber Systems Inc. called RoboForm, which memorizes and encrypts passwords and automatically logs you into sites with one click of your mouse.

The software also can automatically create highly secure passwords with one to 511 characters that increase in levels of security. The default is nine characters.

RoboForm software can be downloaded onto your computer or it can be carried with you as a removable USB drive version called Pass2Go. I chose the Pass2Go version to review as it leaves no record of transactions on your machine. That I liked.

The first time I plugged Pass2Go into my USB port, I was somewhat taken aback by the number of options that came up for filling out electronic forms, creating pass codes, searching information and managing passwords and identities. Overall, however, I was impressed by how intuitive the software was, and it wasn't long before I was one-clicking my way into all my favorite Web sites.

While there's a bit of a ramp with this technology, both in learning how to use it and in adding automated log-ins to a drop-down list, I think most people will find this a great time-saving tool -- particularly when it comes to filling out long electronic forms.

After plugging the Pass2Go USB flash drive into your computer and accepting the download, a tool bar is added to your Web browser. The software is compatible with Internet Explorer, AOL/MSN and Firefox.

Each time you go to a site and attempt to log in, the RoboForm software opens a window and asks you if you want to use a default name or create a new site name and save the log-in information. As you do this, a list of "passcards" are created on a drop-down menu under "Log-ins" on the RoboForm toolbar. The log-in menu can then be used to automatically return to any previously visited site, where it will fill out and execute your log-in. All of your passwords and IDs can also be encrypted with a 256-bit AES algorithm, but that will also require you to type in a master password each time you enter a site.

RoboForm software also has an option for filling out registration and checkout forms. The software offers up a template with windows for all your personal information, such as name, address, phone number, email address, income, Social Security number, credit card number(s), etc. When your computer encounters an online form, it offers an opportunity to complete the form with one click. You can also create your passwords and form information in 26 languages, from Japanese and German to French and Hebrew.

I found the Pass2Go version of the RoboForm software particularly handy because you can plug it into any computer and it continues to automatically log you into sites, and it leaves no trace behind. It's also PDA friendly and syncs your passwords to Pocket PC and Palm. One drawback I saw with Pass2Go is pretty obvious: If you lose it, you potentially lose all your password information. Of course, you can copy the information to another USB drive or your PDA.

RoboForm also has some features that I consider tertiary but useful, such as an encrypted notepad where you can store personal information such as bank ATM PINs, software license keys or your Christmas list when you don’t want someone to see it. You retrieve the information using the same master password that is used to log into Web sites.

Siber Systems offers a free 30-day trial of RoboForm. After that, it will cost you either US$29.95 for a downloadable version or $39.95 for the USB Pass2Go version.

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