I have featured programs from the excellent systems developer Nir Sofer (of Nirsoft.net fame) before and he has just released yet another great security utility – this time it is the Password Security Scanner.
Password Security Scanner is a free utility that scans the passwords stored by popular Windows applications (Microsoft Outlook, IE, Firefox etc) and displays security information about all these passwords. “The security information of every stored password includes the total number of characters, number of numeric characters, number of lowercase/uppercase characters, number of repeating characters, and password strength.”
So, at a glance, you can see which passwords (associated with an email address or website logon) have a good or weak ‘strength’ score – you should then go off and manually change any weak or medium passwords to much stronger ones to prevent your email being hacked or your website logons being broken into e.g. Twitter, Facebook etc.
Note that Password Security Scanner does not reveal the individual passwords so you could even use it to test if passwords are secure enough on other users’ accounts too (with their permission of course) as you wouldn’t see their actual passwords.
The ‘Password Strength’ column displays the strength of each password according to the following scale:
1 – 7: Very Weak
8 – 14: Weak
15 – 25: Medium
26 – 45: Strong
46 and above: Very Strong
Password Security Scanner can be download from Nirsoft here – the zip file is recommended for portable use i.e. just unzip it to run, doesn’t need to be installed.
Although you can achieve similar functionality to check a single password by using the Passwordmeter website (see my review ‘test your password strength‘), Password Security Scanner does not require you to know the actual password and it is an automatic process so can report on multiple passwords at the same time. E.g. if you have 50 website login passwords stored in IE/Firefox, it would take forever to type each one into Passwordmeter and test it individually, whereas Nir’s clever little utility will check all 50 in one go.
Online security is not optional nowadays – making sure that all your passwords are very strong is a good way to avoid them being hacked/cracked and misused. This utility is a big help in checking many stored passwords quickly.