Does keeping track of your online passwords make you want to pull your hair out? Having an organized system for password management reduces that frustration.
Just as people have to choose between digital and paper calendars these days, there are both digital and paper ways to manage your password information. Different methods have different advantages.
Managing your passwords digitally offers many conveniences but introduces security risks.
- Maintain a list or spreadsheet on your computer…not named “passwords.” File could be stored in the cloud in DropBox to access across devices. You can password protect this document for an added layer of security.
- Use Facebook, twitter or Google to log in
- Use password management software such as 1Password, LastPass or SplashID. These typically work by storing all your individual logins under one main “master” password.
Some people don’t want their passwords stored anywhere in their computer. We’ve seen some folks use a small hand-held dictionary or an address book on their desk to hold passwords in alphabetical order.
Some people keep a paper file in their file cabinet labeled “password”… you could make it a bit more secure by naming that file something random but unique to you like “junkdrawer” or “Rumpelstiltskin”.
You could make your master password list merely a list of prompts that only you know. For example, if your password is some non sequitur like bootPolandgelato5, your prompt may be “footwear – country – food – number”
Or “147Guccigreen3970” could be prompted with “childhood address – favorite designer –color – past phone number”
Regardless of what organizing tool you use to keep track of passwords, if you aren’t relying on software to create passwords for you here are some tips for creating strong passwords:
- Ideally use a mix letters, characters, numbers, and capitals
- String together words to make a phrase. For example “I love ice cream” could become 1L0v31c3Cr3@m if you replace all the vowels with numbers or characters and capitalize the first letter of each word.
- String together unrelated words as in the example “bootPolandgelato5”
There isn’t one right solution or answer; ultimately it’s a personal style and risk management choice we all have to make.
What one step can you take to make your digital life more convenient AND secure?