Protecting yourself from expiring objects

I use a program called 1Password to keep my life more secure and more organized. One of the nice features it has is that you can add an expiration date to anything you add to 1Password. This works great in conjunction with a separate, optional feature of 1Password called WatchTower which will automatically alert you when one of your item’s expiration dates are coming up. According to their website, the Expiring alerts show items that are expiring soon, so you can take action:

  • credit cards, memberships, and drivers licenses that are expiring within 2 months
  • passports expiring within 9 months
  • items that have already expired

Here’s how to make use of that feature.

  1. Only certain categories of 1Password version 7 include an expiration date field: Passport, Credit Card, Driver’s License, Membership, and Outdoor License. Let’s create a membership item by opening the 1Password program and then clicking on the + button and then choosing MembershipScreenshot showing the creation of a Membership item.
  2. Enter information as needed, making sure to enter an expiry date. I chose this month and then clicked Save.
  3. You will have been asked if you would like to enable Watchtower functionality when you first run 1Password. If you didn’t enable it then, you can go to Preferences and then find the Watchtower section. I enable the first three choices: Check for compromised websites, check for vulnerable passwords; and check for two-factor authentication. I am a little unclear on the last item: Ask before checking for a secure connection. I would always prefer for my browser to try to use a secure connection if it is available, and this is becoming the default behavior for most browsers. If I typed in a website as, it would be nice for 1Password to automatically update the url to use but I cannot tell from the description if leaving it unchecked would allow 1Password to automatically choose the secure version instead. I will seek clarification from AgileBits, the company that makes 1Password to find out for sure.
  4. This looks better.Screenshot of the Watchtower preferences with first three items checked.
  5. I want to receive notifications in a prominent manner if there is a problem, so I went to the Notifications section of preferences and turn on all three options: One-time passwords, Vault access; and Watchtower alerts.
  6. By default, the Watchtower section of the interface does not show. You will want to click on the disclosure triangle to the right of the word WATCHTOWER.  
  7. Now we can see the various alerts and start going fixing things. We can see the expiration warning on the membership we recently created. Hopefully this will help you avoid accidentally letting something important expire. My wife just informed me that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is temporarily allowing people to still use recently expired driver’s licenses at the bars, so it must be a common problem during the pandemic.





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