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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.

As you’re cooking up new recipes, Password Chef keeps tabs on the strength of each password being created with a built-in meter across the bottom of the screen. Users continue adding steps until a small Chef Approved stamp appears in the bottom right corner, at which point you can rest assured the recipe is secure enough to vex even the most resilient hacker.

Indeed, the recipes that can be tossed together like a salad with Password Chef are also strong enough that a single one could be used everywhere, but for best results it pays to create a number of recipes for different occasions instead. For example, a more complicated recipe could be used to safeguard all of your bank account logins, while a shorter and easier to remember combination comes in handy for sites where getting online quickly is more important than account security, like Netflix or Hulu.

When in doubt, Password Chef can also test recipes against 100 of the most popular site names to make sure they meet some or all of the most common requirements. This test performs lower-case, upper-case, and special character checks as well as length and whether or not a recommended number is included, returning a maximum score of four—anything less, and that password should go back in the oven to cook for a bit longer.

Tastes great, less filling

password chef options
Password Chef includes a variety of additional security options like a passcode, but sadly Touch ID support is missing from the initial release.

Although Password Chef provides a fun and compelling method for creating new passwords, it doesn’t quite live up to marketing claims that you’ll easily be able to recall them from anywhere, even without your iPhone or iPad—that is, unless you’ve got a photographic memory capable of remembering the often complicated number of steps involved.

Password Chef can be set up to require a four-digit passcode at launch with automatic lock and self destruct options, but sadly there’s no Touch ID support in version 1.0. For additional security, users can also choose to blur secret codes while they’re displayed on-screen, although that opens the door for potentially mistyped characters that could render recipes unusable later on.

There are also a couple of nagging issues left unresolved with the initial release: Lack of iPhone 6 display support is a minor nuisance now that Cupertino’s big-screen smartphones are in their second generation, but a bug that crashes the entire app after placing the cursor in a text field while any third-party keyboard is activated is downright inconvenient for iOS 9 users like myself who prefer SwiftKey to Apple’s built-in digits.

 

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