This is the first installment of a new weekly feature that we will be doing called the Android Headlines App of the Week Spotlight. Once a week, I’ll be bringing you an app that stands out for me in my daily usage of my Android devices. These won’t necessarily be new apps, or even hugely popular apps, but they’ll be apps that I think deserve some attention.
I’ve never really been one that’s liked rules or structure, so I’m going to open this new series with not one, but two apps that I found very useful over the last week that I think deserve a little time in the spotlight.
If you have a LinkedIn account, which I do oddly enough, you may have heard about that little password problem that they had last week. If your account password was one of the 6.5 million affected (mine was), you should have received an email from LinkedIn (I did) telling you to reset your password.
I did go to LinkedIn and reset my password, but that wasn’t the end of this problem for me. Like a lot of people, I lazily used the same email address and password for about a dozen sites that held little or no significance for me. Even though these are all accounts that I’m not terribly concerned about, I still wanted to secure the accounts that I didn’t close with a new password.
This week’s challenge: all new passwords.
After a quick search of the Play Store I found a couple of password generator apps that I decided to try, and I settled on the open source app Password Generator by Marvin Thomas Rabe. Password Generator allows you to generate passwords up to 5,120 characters in length, and it even generates weak passwords to boot. Letters, numbers, symbols and punctuation marks can all be included, and you also have the ability to whitelist or blacklist and characters that you want.
The thing that drew me to this app over the few others that I tried was its ability to set password strength and generate on the same screen, as well as its ad free open source license. I was able to quickly use the app to generate new, strong, unique passwords for the eight or nine accounts that I didn’t close.
I also went through and replaced all of my old (way too old) unique strong passwords for all of my financial accounts and any websites that have my credit card information. I know, you’re supposed to do this regularly but I hadn’t done it in years. Now, everything in new, unique and using a strong password of something north of 20 characters.
Password Generator is a phone app that happens to also run just fine on your tablet, and it runs on my Galaxy Nexus and A200 tablet just fine under ICS.
Google Play Store Link: Password Generator | Free – Open Source
mSecure – Password Manager
I have a horrible short term memory for any details of my life that are actually important. If it’s a meaningless, insignificant fact I’ll never be able to clear it from my memory. If it matters, I’m screwed.
I had been using 1Password on my Macs for years, and had been using their awful password reader app for Android for some time. Then Google has mSecure on sale for 90% off and I jumped on it.
mSecure has loads of nice features built right in, but the two that I use it for are storing logins and syncing the encrypted file with Dropbox for use on all of my devices. Using mSecure, all of my logins are categorized into financial, web account logins and crap like LinkedIn that I’m not losing any sleep over. In addition, I also have some of my deep, dark financial account information and all of my credit card account numbers locked away.
mSecure uses 256 bit Blowfish Encryption to keep your data safe, and as they say, it’s never been cracked. It also provides ready made information templates to help you quickly enter the account details that you need to save. If none of the included data templates or categories suit your needs, mSecure lets you create your own, and all of your data is synced and added across all of your devices that you install the app on.
I’m using mSecure on my Nexus and A200 tablet running ICS, as well as on both of my Macs and my one lone Windows desktop PC. With the handy-dandy Dropbox sync feature all of my devices are a button press away from having all of my latest passwords downloaded and secured.
For those of you that might be concerned about syncing something as important as your password files to Dropbox, your synced data file also is encrypted with 256 bit blowfish encryption. It’s secure.
Also, I’m aware that mSecure has a built in password generator, but I really didn’t like how it worked. I was much happier with the UI of Password Generator.
Google Play Store Link: mSecure Password Manager $9.99 | $19.99 for Mac or Windows (today in the Google Play store is only $0.99)