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Password Chef review: A recipe for cooking up healthy security dishes

J.R. Bookwalter | Nov. 9, 2015
Password Chef is deliciously simple for creating custom “recipes” that use the name of a website as the starting point for more secure passwords.

password chef ios icon

It’s basically impossible these days to maintain a single, universally compatible password that works across multiple websites and internet services. Increased security measures in the wake of high-profile security breaches and hacks have exposed just how fragile our sensitive data really is, especially when it exists purely in the realm of cyberspace.

password chef steps
Each step in recipes created by Password Chef gets you one step closer to online security.

Security experts claim the best defense is a strong offense: A password, in this case. But who can remember something like “UNW3fJ(Y9oGv4+whX”—especially when every website has different requirements for how long a password should be and what kind of unique characters must be used.

For years, 1Password has been my go-to solution for this thorny dilemma, and while I still think it’s hands-down the best choice for those who want maximum control over their online security, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by a new app that promises to create strong, yet easy to remember passwords which can be recycled over and over again for any website.

What’s cooking?

Password Chef is deliciously simple for creating custom “recipes” that use the name of a website as the starting point for more secure passwords. That may sound like a contradiction—after all, how safe could such a method be?—but like any great chef, the magic is not in the ingredients used, but rather how they’re all prepared.

password chef test
Want to know how strong your recipe really is? Password Chef can compare it against 100 popular sites to see how it holds up.

As it turns out, Password Chef’s secret sauce is the way the app whips up a soufflé of letters and digits, combining a secret code or other input of your design with characters, vowels, or consonants in the actual site name to bake a seemingly impenetrable combination that can be repeated endlessly, with different results each time.

Although I’ve never had reservations about storing my highly encrypted 1Password vaults on Dropbox, privacy advocates will be happy to hear Password Chef’s recipes exist only on the device where they’re created. Personally, I’d prefer the convenience of iCloud sync so recipes created on my iPad can be synced to iPhone, and vice versa—or even an Apple Watch component, which seems like a no-brainer for an app like this.

Recipe for security

password chef approved badge
Once you’ve added enough steps to make a secure recipe, Password Chef presents a badge of approval for a job well done.

 

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