There are a lot of ways to manage passwords for web-based services. If you're like me, you have logins on an absolutely insane number of places. I've used a lot of different tactics for maintaining passwords and logins in the past, and every site I go to has a slightly more perverse set of constraints (some don't allow numbers in passwords, others require them, some have strange user name requirements, or require a unique email address). My current solution, and I'm rather happy with it, is a program called 1passwd. It integrates with most of the software I use online (Safari, Firefox, NetNewsWire) and a ton of other stuff, and does the job. Read on for more.
1passwd is a Macintosh application and a little doohickey that is able to attach itself to other programs in the Mac universe. Due to the way software is written on the Mac, it's possible to attach on to another program and add functionality that wasn't there before. This kind of thing may sound dangerous, and it is if you're not careful, but the folks working at Agile Web Solutions have made a point of trying to make their solution as robust as possible, and they've succeeded so far.
What does it do?
Well, 1passwd stores passwords and user names, as you would expect. However, the program goes much further than that. In order to protect your online identity, you will want to use different passwords (and possibly different user names and email addresses) at each site you go to. This way, a security breach at one site isn't a problem for your online identity universally. 1passwd has extensive password generation capabilities, including varying the number of symbols and numbers in your password (user-modifyable at the time the password is created so that you can change them for the requirements of each site).
Once the password is generated, 1passwd fills in the original and confirming password fields on the form you are working on and allows you to modify everything else. It's pretty simple, but very powerful.
When you enter passwords on sites that you already have access to, the software provides the opportunity to save that information as well.
Beyond basic password management, 1passwd also allows you to create personal profiles for filling in forms. Because they're dedicated to this space, I've had much better luck getting 1passwd to fill in online forms than I have the built-in products in Safari and Firefox. Plus, their ability to store multiple profiles means that your home and business information can be kept separate, but accessible.
You may be asking yourself about the security of such a program. Seriously, how can you expect it to keep all of your passwords safe and sound. The answer to that is the Apple Keychain. The bright folks who wrote the software realized that Apple had already solved the problem of dealing with security and locking down access to the data, so they take advantage of the Apple Keychain to store all of their information, including the user names and passwords. Safe and sound, tight as a drum. Oh, and as an added bonus, as long as you have keychain syncing on through dot mac, your 1passwd passwords are available on all of your machines.... nice!
The folks at Agile Web Solutions have taken the security issue one further, though. They realized that they're in the perfect position to provide you with the warnings necessary that you're on the wrong website. Since they match the URL to the URLs that you are trying to paste in your passwords to, they can tell if you're on the appropriate site (https://www.paypal.com for example) or another site that is spelled similarly (https://www.paypall.com). This is a neat little side-effect/feature of the way that password fillers work.
I always like to have a list of these with any piece of software. However, these guys have done such a good job that it hardly seems necessary. The one big drawback right now is that I have a number of sites with highly complex passwords that I cannot easily access with my iPhone. As you can imagine, 1passwd doesn't run on the iPhone (yet?) and thus you can't take it with you.
There also doesn't seem to be a way to export the information stored in 1passwd back out to Safari's password management and form filling system. They import this data when you activate the software for the first time, but they don't seem to allow you to export. That'd be a nice feature.
1passwd is a commercial package and is available online for $29.95.