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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Best Password Managers For 2016

best password managers 2016

Today’s password managers is a convenient and practical way to manage and protect your password for your important transactions online. In this article, we will give everyone an ideas on each of the best password managers this 2016. But before getting into that let’s see just how easy it is to crack your password.

Is your password good enough? Let’s put it to the test…
Many people out there think that their password is super strong, so did I. Here’s a very simple tool that will show you just how strong (or weak) your password really is. If you try entering my old password (x9Jevslt) you can see that it will take a computer about 2 hours to crack it. Put any password with less characters (mine had 8) and it will take a computer around 7 minutes to crack it.

Top 10 Best Password Managers 2017

So does this mean your password is going to get cracked? Not necessarily…

There’s an old joke about two men who are walking through the woods when a large bear walked out into the clearing no more than 50 feet in front of them. The first man dropped his backpack and dug out a pair of running shoes, then began to furiously attempt to lace them up as the bear slowly approached them. The second man looked at the first, confused, and said, “What are you doing? Running shoes aren’t going to help, you can’t outrun that bear.” “I don’t need to,” said the first man, “I just need to outrun you.”

I know, the joke sucks…but it makes a good point. When dealing with password security most of the time your don’t need to have THE most secure password, you just have to be more secure than the guy next to you.

Using a password manager will make sure you don’t have any repeating passwords, so even if one gets hacked all of the others are safe. It will also allow you to generate much more complex passwords than the ones you currently have.

Moreover, password managers have an “auto fill” feature so that you can log into most websites with just a mouse click. This prevents any malicious keyloggers that spy on your keystrokes to know your password.

Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you of the advantages of a password manager, let me introduce you to some of the more recommended ones around.

Roboform Password Manager
best password managers 2016 roboform
Roboform as most password managers it allows you to generate different passwords to every website you sign up to, store these passwords in its databases and autofill forms online.

Everytime I want to log into a website I can use the Roboform chrome extension to auto-populate the username / password settings and quickly log me in. Robform is a cloud based solution so you can easily access your passwords from multiple devices.

The way your passwords are kept secure on roboform is through the use of one “master password”. The master password shouldn’t be written down anywhere and should be memorized by heart. This is somewhat of a standard practice with all password managers as you’ll soon see, and it’s also their major disadvantage. Since if someone hacks your master password all of your passwords are basically exposed.

The main downsides to using Roboform is that it doesn’t call out weak passwords and also doesn’t use 2 factor authentication (2FA) on Mobile. The 2FA is an additional security measure that allows you to protect your passwords even if someone got a hold of your master password. In this case after you log into you account you will also need to verify an access code that will be sent to your mobile phone.

Price: $19.95/year

LastPass – The most popular password manager around
best password managers 2016 lastpass
LastPass is probably the most popular password manager out there. It has a very robust free version that will allow you to save all you passwords, autofill forms and also sync password across devices of the same type (i.e. desktop, tablets, etc).

LastPass has some extremely useful features such as password sharing. This means that if you want someone to log into an account you own you can just send them an email that will allow them to log in but not view your actual password for that account. I think this can come handy if you’re working a lot with freelancers who need access to your servers.

LastPass also gives you the protection of 2FA to your account using Google Authenticator, so even if your master password is compromised, the hacker will still not be able to access your account. You can also install a 2FA application to any flash drive and enable authentication only when the flash drive is connected to the computer (similar to how a TREZOR works).

At $1/month this is probably the best value for money password manager you can find.

Price: $12/Year

TREZOR – Using your Bitcoin wallet as a password manager

best password managers 2016 trezor
 SatoshiLabs announced TREZOR Password Manager, a new lightweight application designed to store and manage passwords. The Chrome extension is available for public beta testing for all TREZOR hardware wallet owners.

TREZOR Password Manager aims to bring advanced cryptography into the hands of computer users regardless of their skill level. With one click, the user encrypts each password entry with his personal TREZOR device. The Password Manager then automatically uploads the encrypted data to user’s private cloud storage, making them always available when needed.

The most refreshing thing about using TREZOR’s password manager is that it eliminates the use of a master password that can be hacked. Similar to the use LastPass does with a flash drive, the TREZOR device itself can serve as a physical 2FA, unlocking your passwords only when your device is physically connected to your computer.

Also since TREZOR uses a security PIN entry that is protected against any type of malware it’s basically un-hackable. If you want to learn more about how TREZOR avoids the hazard of keyloggers take a look at this video demonstrating the device.

Your passwords will be saved on your Dropbox account and encrypted with a unique encryption key derived from TREZOR. So even if someone hacks your Dropbox account it would be almost impossible to read the stored password.

At the moment TREZOR’s password manager is probably the most secure password manager around but also the most inconvenient for everyday use, since it requires you to physically connect your TREZOR and approve certain actions on it. It’s also currently lacking some key features due to the fact that it is in public Beta, but this will definitely be an application you’d want to keep your eye out for.

Price: $99 (one time payment for the TREZOR wallet)

Dashlane Password Manager
best password managers 2016 dashlane
Even though Dashlane is not as popular as LastPass (yet), it seems to be gaining traction fast. The things that distinguish Dashlane from the rest of the password managers are:

  • It can act as a digital wallet that saves all of your different payment methods. You can then pay with one click.
  • It has a password changer feature which is HUGE in my opinion. You see I tend to change my most important passwords every month or so, but at the moment I do it manually. Tech experts at Dashlane have analyzed hundreds of popular sites in order to devise scripts that automate the password change process. That lets Dashlane perform a hands-off password update for any supported site, and with Version 4 the list of supported sites jumps from 200 to 500.
  • It has an “emergency contact” feature. So if something unfortunate happens to you, you are able to define who will get access to what passwords.

All of the other features I’ve mentioned in other password managers are also included here, and there’s also a free version that’s pretty robust.

Price: $39.99/year

Keepass – The open-source solution for password managing
best password managers 2016 keepass
As always there is the free open-source solution. Keepass is a pretty popular solution that allows you to store your password on an encrypted file on your computer. It has all basic password manager features that include autofill and password generation.

The main downside to Keepass is that it’s pretty unintuitive, but if you’re willing to go the extra mile in order to save a few bucks that’s totally fine. Here’s a video preview of the product (with some annoying music so turn off the speakers):

Price: Free!!

Nothing is ever 100% secure
To sum up this post let me say this: I AM NOT A SECURITY EXPERT. I’m just a guy who has a lot of sensitive information stored online that’s trying to secure it as much as possible. Nothing will ever be 100% secure and if someone is deliberately targeting your passwords, they’ll probably find a way to get them.

Just to illustrate my point you can read the story of Shapeshift’s hack, which is one of the most interesting articles I’ve ever read about a theft from a digital currency exchange. In this case someone was deliberately targeting a specific site and person.

However in most cases no one is targeting you directly. Hackers are just trying to catch the “low hanging fruit”, the passwords that are easiest to obtain. So making it that much harder for them by using a password manager will probably be worth the investment.

If you are using any password manager I’d love to hear your own experience with them in the comment section below. Stay safe!

Walmart Sees Potential Of Bitcoin’s Low Fees, Dropping Visa Support

wallmart sees potential in bitcoin, drops visa
Image by Wallmart
When Bitcoin supporters praise their favorite currency, one of the great attributes everyone discusses is the network’s low fees, paling in comparison to the major credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa. Now, with Walmart dropping support for Visa in Canadian stores due to high fees, bitcoin could have a chance to shine.

Walmart and Many Companies Could Save Millions
Along with many major merchants across the globe, cryptocurrency supporters would love to see a company like Walmart adopt Bitcoin.

Bitcoin fees are extremely low and typically are less than 1 percent of a transaction, whether it’s a couple of dollars sent or a million dollar transaction.

Average credit card processing fees can be upwards of 1.95 to 5 percent. The average cost for card-not-present businesses can be roughly 3% for online operations. These estimates don’t include annual membership costs and other hidden fees.

The retail giant has 405 stores in Canada, and this move will probably be quite a blow to Visa. A spokeswoman from the retail store stated:  

“We’re constantly working to reduce our operating costs, including credit card fees. Unfortunately, Visa and Walmart have been unable to agree on an appropriate fee for Visa transactions.”

This would be a great opportunity for stores like Walmart to save thousands of dollars in fees by accepting Bitcoin.

Another strong attribute the cryptocurrency could offer the company is less financial stress from chargebacks, as it would be extremely difficult when using the Bitcoin network. 70 percent of fraud comes from chargebacks, with merchants losing $11.2 billion USD in 2015.

Using Bitcoin could cut these outrageous frauds down to virtually nothing, saving a company’s revenues. Cryptocurrency proponents have been saying this for years and believe large merchants such as Walmart or Target should invest in researching the benefits of these technologies. 

Visa’s spokesperson states, “We are disappointed that Walmart chose to put their own financial interests ahead of their own consumers’ choice.”

According to the Nilson Report 50.6 million cards are in circulation and $232 billion USD worth of transactions have been charged last year. This means merchants across the globe have paid out millions to these-third party arbitrators, and it’s only getting worse.

Most likely, Walmart won’t be accepting Bitcoin any time soon. However, it’s something they should consider as millions of dollars in fees and chargebacks are flying out store windows.

Bitcoin Makes Int’l Students Finances Easier While Studying In US Colleges

Bitcoin Makes Students Finances Easier studying in US colleges

The rise of startups helping foreign students access the US credit market points to yet another revolutionary potential use for Bitcoin.

Fiat Credit Can’t Cut It
International students, from developing nations in particular, who study in the US face huge difficulties obtaining credit — which is all too often vital for them to afford basic living costs.

That’s according to Kalpesh Kapadia, an Indian student and co-founder of SelfScore. SelfScore is a startup which uses “a different set of approval metrics” to give credit cards to those who would otherwise be denied them because of various US requirements.

“I went to open a bank account for [my cousin] and get a social security number, and I found it was impossible for her to get an SS number on day one,” Kapadia explains in an interview with Tech In Asia. “You must have a job.”

Not only a job or social security: the lack of a credit report caused them to pay double the deposit on an apartment, a $500 USD deposit on a smartphone and be denied even the essential everyday tool in the US — a car.

SelfScore now handles negotiations and audits with credit institutions while using more common sense criteria to give students the money they need.

If a student has the money to study in the US in the first place, the Kapadia reasons, they should surely make suitably reliable credit candidates.

Bitcoin: Solution in Waiting
While the traditional hurdles of the legacy financial system are shown up as ridiculous by the international student example, the situation even for SelfScore’s 5000 applicants is still precarious.

Specifically, the problem starts when funds are in another country — but bitcoin debit cards and remittance services are already more than capable of providing an all-in-one solution.

Why tangle with fiat alternatives at all, when even SelfScore requires personal information and “public information from the students collected by the US Department of Homeland Security”?

Bitcoin can be freely sent from anywhere to anywhere. A student in the US can purchase a bitcoin debit card without any form of financial buoyancy checks.

Even if a student had no access to funds to pay for the card, a quick meetup in person to exchange cash for BTC via LocalBitcoins would solve this particular liquidity issue.

Together with the cards, even the need for emergency cash is catered for thanks to peer-to-peer Bitcoin loans startups, such as BTCJam and Credible Friends, which are becoming more widespread in 2016.

With such a variety of debit card options available regardless of one’s country of residence, even the downsides such as fees can be mitigated by the freedom the cardholder feels due to the flexibility they enjoy and the security of their personal information.

Bitcoin Among Investments Set To Soar Says 'The Street'

bitcoin investment expected to soar

Bitcoin is among the investments expected to soar, according to Tradebird, a social trading app, reported The Street, a site that offers insight on investing. The Street and the investor comments it cited join the growing investment community interest in bitcoin.

The Street article cited the impressive gains of the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust. Other investments expected to soar are SolarCity, Swiss Francs and Manchester United.

What Do ‘Real Traders’ Think?
Ivan Ashiminov, a writer for The Street, noted it is important to know what “real traders” think since they can offer clues about the future direction of stocks, currencies and commodities.

The article includes a chart of the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust from August 2015 to June 2016, during which time the price has posted steady gains.

Bitcoin, according to Ashiminov, is “surging at 92% bullish sentiment.” He further noted a July auction in Australia of nearly $16 million worth of confiscated bitcoin has confirmed that digital currency is “going mainstream.”

Ashiminov provided similar analyses of gold, the Swiss Franc, Manchester United, coffee and SolarCity.

Why Traders Are Bullish On Bitcoin
The Tradebird app Ashiminov referenced gives bitcoin a 100% bullish rating.

Following are recent Tradebird posts about bitcoin:

One post wonders if the halving of bitcoin will double bitcoin’s price or double the fees needed to confirm a transaction in 10 minutes. “Either way the miners would be making money to stay profitable.”
China’s speculation over the yuan devaluation and the anti-corruption drive are increasing bitcoin’s popularity.
Australians will be able to buy bitcoin under a new initiative to sell bitcoin in exchange for cash at more than 1,200 news agents.
Bitcoin is catching on with “gold bugs.”
Bitcoin is taking a “baby step” on the path of official acceptance as the Swiss town of Zug allows residents to use bitcoin for municipal services.

Investments The Street pegs for decline include the British pound, the Canadian dollar, Twitter and platinum.

Needham & Co. LLC, a New York City-based investment firm, has begun covering the BIT, giving it a “buy” rating and a $62.00 price target (PT), CCN reported in April. Needham estimated the present per-bitcoin value at $655.