Password Officer Deluxe 5.0

Reviewed by: Paul Schneider
Published by: Compelson Laboratories
Requires: Pentium 400 or higher, 32 MB RAM, 10 MB disk space, Windows 98 through XP
MSRP: $59.00

Computers provide access to amazing amounts of information. With the advent of the Internet the amount of information has increased exponentially. Information that is made available can be either public or private. In order to keep our private information private, we usually secure it through logins and passwords. The best way to accomplish a high level of security with this method is to create unique and not easily deciphered passwords for each piece of information. Unfortunately for us, we find remembering unique logins and passwords difficult at best. Password Officer Deluxe aims to provide a secure and elegant solution to this problem.

Password Officer Deluxe helps you to generate, enter, store, secure, change, organize, transport and access your logins and passwords. Like a vault where all of your important information is stored, the software locks down your logins and passwords in one secure location. Your only job? To remember your one unique password to unlock the secure vault.

The concept behind Password Officer Deluxe is simple, but it is the execution of the concept which helps to make it an indispensable tool. The software protects your information using some of the strongest encryption methods available today. Specifically the information is stored using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm, which was approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Password Officer Deluxe also uses secure technologies in creating passwords. You can choose from three different types - Twofish, FIPS 181–DES and FIPS 181–AES when creating a password. In essence, Password Officer Deluxe provides you with the technology to create secure passwords and then store them in a secure encrypted format that only you can access.

One problem with creating cryptic passwords and storing them is that you need easy access to this file at all times if you are to access your private information. The Password Officer Deluxe license and design address this by allowing you to move the secure information to new locations and utilize it in different situations. Besides the obvious - using it on another computer - POD can be used with Smart Cards as well. With a Smart Card in hand you can carry your passwords with you in an accessible and secure manner.

Knowing which passwords and logins are for which programs and sites is another important element in password storage. It is one thing to label a password and login so you know where to look for it when you need it. It is an entirely different matter to automatically tie the login and password to a specific page and form or program. Password Officer Deluxe makes this connection process quite painless. Using some very user friendly technology, users can literally drag & drop a pointer onto a web page or program for which they wish to remember a login/password combination. Once the password and login are tied to this location and stored, you can specify if information should be entered automatically and processed or if when the page is accessed it should wait for a confirmation from you before processing.

Although Password Officer Deluxe provides additional options such as cut & paste and launching a password protected page or program another directly, I found the automated option to be most useful. Now when I browse or activate a program and need a password, I step back for a few seconds as Password Officer Deluxe takes over and does the work of remembering my login and password and submitting it. Once done I continue on with my work.

My experience with Password Officer Deluxe was largely positive, but I experienced a few hiccups. The first thing I would recommend to future users is to read the manual before you get started. Although the user interface isn’t particularly difficult, it wasn’t a program I could just jump in and start using immediately. With regard to help, one of the more disappointing aspects of Password Officer Deluxe was the complete lack of any built in help. You must instead rely on the PDF manual that is provided with the package. Getting the software to work flawlessly with all of my test situations was a bit tricky at times and some of the tests didn’t work at first. Fortunately, technical support via e-mail was available and with an upgrade to the latest release and a few hints, I soon achieved success for each password/login program or web page I tested.

If you are accessing secure information online or simply have a lot of logins and passwords to remember you should take Password Officer Deluxe for a test drive. Most people know they should have separate logins and passwords for their different web sites, but few make the effort to do so. We also know that creating secure passwords is important, but we seldom comply. Password Officer Deluxe helps you to address these truly essential aspects of modern day computing with a bit of sophistication and elegance. The system stores and creates passwords in a secure fashion and then provides you with a variety of options that help make this information mobile, accessible and easily utilized.




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