Until something better, more convenient, and more secure comes along, we’re stuck with passwords. Not just a password, but multiple passwords, many passwords in varying styles and strengths, each wedded to a custom username or login ID.
Type the search word ‘passwords’ into the Mac App Store search bar and you will be treated with dozens of password managers, password generators, and a variety of ways to create and use more secure passwords than the normal.
Here’s an example. Randomness is a free something-or-other generator. The password option has obvious controls for password length, and a mixture of letters, numbers, letters and numbers, characters, and a simple and obvious Generate button.
Look closely and you’ll see options to generate random numbers, select specific colors, flip a coin, roll the dice, and select a card. What that has to do with passwords?
One of my favorites is called PwGenerator, and while it’s not fee, you get plenty for a couple of bucks, including options for password length, uppercase, lowercase, number, and symbols. Plus, normal passwords, long passwords, WEP, WPA, and WPA2 compatible passwords. There’s even a password strength meter. Just click and copy.
Apple builds in a password generator to the Keychain app but using it is cumbersome and it’s somewhat hidden from view and you have to create a new key to get to it. iCloud has a similar feature, but again, it’s plenty of extra steps to use.
Here’s where Google can be your friend. Enter password generator into Google’s search field and you’ll be presented with dozens and dozens of online password generator apps. One of the more useful is simple called Password Generator and it creates easy-to-remember passwords which mix vowels and consonants with numbers.
Net another favorite is the Pronounceable Password Generator for iPhone. You got it. Not only is it free, it gets great reviews, and it’s unique because it creates passwords that can– important word, can– be pronounced, which makes them easier to remember, yet still quite secure thanks to a mixture of upper and lowercase with numbers.
The only problem with all these password generators is that they’re merely variations on a theme that’s been around forever. The trend today is for two-factor authentication which provides multiple steps or components beyond just a username or login ID and password. Think of a PIN number or a text message with another code.
What’s missing from the password schemes most of us use these days are methods that employ multiple steps, but combined into one. For example, Apple’s Touch ID on iPhone and iPad gives you access to secure apps or sites simply by using your fingerprint. Yet, the iPhone can do more because it has a built-in microphone for voice recognition, and a camera for facial recognition.
The problem is getting into play a system that utilizes all or more of those new components. In most cases, we’re still stuck with username or login ID and passwords and those can be easily compromised.