To me, 1Password is the single greatest application on OS X. 1Password is an application that allows you to securely use one master password to access all your web accounts, credit card data, and online identities from your Mac and iPhone. It is as easy as command + |.
What It Does
1Password has 3 main things I consider to be its core functions. The first one is a secure password manager. 1Pasword creates a secure database of all your web passwords and organizes them in a very clear and easy to manage interface. It also helps you to generate very secure passwords all from inside your browser.
The second core functionality associated with 1Password is a great form filler. You can create identities in the application where you fill out names, addresses, phone numbers, emails… Then when you go to sign up for a new web application, all you have to do is click the 1P button and import all your identity info into the form.
The third core functionality is one I don’t really use, but I know people that do, and that is the wallet! This allows you to securely store credit card information in a nice and organized database. It works with credit cards, membership id cards, web services, and bank account numbers.
How It Works
You start by installing the app and the necessary browser plugins. 1Pasword works with a ton of different browsers: Safari 3.0, Firefox 2.0-3.0, Flock 1.1, Camino 1.5, OmniWeb 5.7, DEVONagent 2.3, Fluid 0.9.1, and NetNewsWire 3.1.
Once you have it installed, you have to begin entering all your information. The identities and the wallet items are entered through the 1Password application. The password can be entered inside the application but I find it easiest to enter them through the browser as you visit the various sites. The first time you login to a site it is going to ask you if you want to save the password with 1Password. Once you save it, all you have to do it browse back to the login page and hit command + | and 1Password will automatically fill in your login information and it even submits the form for you.
Is It Safe? Why Use It?
Some people will debate whether is it secure, and if it is safe to use? 1Password allows you to set a master password that you must type in to have the program work. You can set different options for security levels. I personally have the program ask for my master password every 3 hours or the program will disable itself. This is just in case my machine gets stolen. As for my master password, I use a very secure 32 character password that is not written anywhere and is not easily crackable. Add the keychain encryption, and you can rest assured your information is securely stored.
I think it actually helps to secure your info more then if you didn’t use it. With 1Password, you can use a built in secure password generator that will help to generate very complex and random passwords that you don’t have to remember or write down because you use the application. The majority of people on the net use the same basic password across multiple sites with maybe 1 or 2 characters changed. This is bad because those passwords are normally pretty basic and easy to crack. Using this program will also keep you from staying logged into a site can be a security issue in its own.
1Password also helps to prevent password phishing. Password phishing is when you receive an email or IM message from a friend asking you to check out a image. Well, this is not from your friend, but from a hacker, and the site the link sends you to might look like MySpace of Facebook, but it is actually a hacker site. You don’t notice because it looks the same, so you go to login, and yep, the hackers have your username and password. 1Password will help prevent this because when you click command + | on the phishing site, 1Password will notice it is not Facebook.com and will notify you that this is not the site you think it is.
I could go on and on about this application, but the best thing todo is check out the many reviews and awards this application has recieved. Check them out at Agile Software. Also check out the iPhone application in the iTunes app store. This app will sync with the desktop version to allow you to carry your password with you in the same secure way.