Question

What’s the best way to create and keep track of passwords?

Answer

We are all overwhelmed with passwords, and a password manager might be a good solution for you. As the name suggests, a password manager helps you easily create, store and remember passwords. Many of them are both a website and an app, so you have access to all your passwords regardless of what device you’re on. Many of them are free. In most cases, you set up an account by providing your name, email address and a “master” password to enter your digital locker. Often times people worry about what would happen if their phone or tablet would get lost or stolen — wouldn't the criminal then have access to all their passwords. You need not worry about this, as your device has to be unlocked first — that is, a person would first need to know your PIN or password — and then guess your master password, too, which is highly unlikely, unless you make it easy like 1111 (please don’t use that). And since you can log on to your password manager from virtually any device, you can log in from another machine and change your master password — just in case.

If a password manager doesn't seem like something you would be willing to try, I think two-factor authentication is a good solution as well. Two-factor authentication, is a security process in which the user provides two different factors to verify themselves to better protect both the user's credentials and the resources the user can access. So it could be you need to enter a password for the first step and then answer a secret question for the second step.

 

 

*Part of the Ask the Expert series with Amy Nofziger on Identity Theft and Cybersecurity Scams, October 2019. Learn more tips and/or share your stories in our Scams & Fraud forum.

 

Comments

I tried this some years ago with Norton; something happened and lost all of my info. So learned a good lesson to just write it down in a log book that I made up myself.

You can do this yourself by using a spreadsheet (like Excel) to save the passwords on your PC and just password the file (which is saved locally).  I do this myself and only have one password to remember (the password of the Excel file).  Of course, I back up the password file each month to a USB key so I have a copy in case my Windows PC goes South. I also email a copy to my cell phone for an additional copy for use on the phone.

Stay far far far away from anything by Norton... back in the 90's when I was learning about computers and the Internet my peers had re-named Norton as 'Notrun'.

 

I learned the lesson the hard way when a 'Notrun' utilities update that destroyed a prized 2GB fast SCSI Hard Drive on my Mac that 'Notrun' utilities ruined.

 

You can pretty much be assured that any software that is advertised on a commercial, or infomercial is nothing but junkware.

 

I had a senior (RIP) that I was maintaining his computer for over a decade Malware trouble free at no cost to him. In his final days he thought he could do it himself and had me turn his account in Windows 7 to full administrator privileges... BANG! within a month the computer was chock full of Malware. It took me over 5 hours to clean all the crap out and I guess he felt guilty as he handed me 3 $5 bills for the work which works out to $3 hr.

I'm glad I spent thousands to get my certs for that. This was after he got sucked into the 'Notrun' black hole and what was on his computer didn't prevent this and when he called Norton they wanted over $400.00 to fix it remotely. This also was on a Big Box Store bargain computer that cost 300/400 dollars. I told him (as I tell many that buy a bargain basement computer) you broke it, just go out and buy another one you've got it too messed up to economically repair.

 

Surf smart or don't surf at all...

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