30 Days of Spontaneous Organizing Challenge ~ Day #29-Passwords

It's hard to keep all of those numbers and characters straight, especially since you shouldn't use the same password for more than one service. Some people store them in a document on their home computer. This is fine -- if (and only if) you encrypt the file, a feature available on most personal computers.

Encryption scrambles text, so it will be unreadable if someone hacks into your system. Even with this defense, make sure your main log-in is protected by a ''super password,'' one that has at least eight characters and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.

There are other, more high-tech storage options to choose from. For example, you could put your passwords on a portable USB flash drive with fingerprint recognition. The biometric device costs upward of $100, but you'll be the only person in the world who can access its contents, because only your fingerprints will open it.

Browser and Computer Password Managers

Chrome, Firefox, and Macintosh computers’ keychain all have the power store your logins and passwords. For most people, this is a wonderfully easy tool to use. The browser asks if you want to store the information, you agree, and the next time you visit the website, it fills in the information for you.

Pro: Probably the simplest way to store information and retrieve it.

Cons:

  1. It doesn’t go with you. When you log in from another device, your passwords are not with you unless using a laptop or mobile device. If you are using a mobile computer, you have a second problem…
  2. If you lose your computer, or it’s stolen, if someone tries to log into your websites they have your passwords unless you log out of your browser every time.
  3. With the Mac keychain, you would have to log out of your user profile.
  4. If you share your computer with anyone, you have to log out or they have access to your passwords.

Password Manager Programs

Better than storing your secure info on an insecure device is storing it in a password protected program. There are several on the market available for free or a small fee. Everyone I talk to likes what they are using, which means to me that the leading programs are fairly easy to set up and use. I have been testing out the free program LastPass, as in the last password you will ever need. All you have to do is remember the one password for this program. It will remember the passwords you already are using, or it will generate complex passwords and store them for you. For a fee you can get the app for your phone or tablet. The information is stored in the cloud so you can access it from anywhere.

Roboform also remembers your passwords and other information you use to fill in forms and fills them in for you. The information is stored on your computer, not in the cloud. Another option? Manilla.com, which provides secure one-password access to all of your accounts.

Other top-rated password managers SplashID, Msecure, and Dashlane.

Pro: Free and easy

Con: Some have a small cost, or a cost for more features

Spreadsheets

If you’re not ready to let the programs manage your passwords, stick to the good old spreadsheet. The trick to making this work so you can access it everywhere and NOT worry about someone getting hold of it is to never write down your real password. Only write down password triggers such as: school year, which leads you to your high school letters and the year you graduated (Smhs1973). Make a point to always capitalize the same letter.

Another way to not write the whole word is to do the double/backwards trick. Keep your password short, such as initials and house number, and then repeat it backward. Mine would be Asc180081csA. But only write the password forwards on your spreadsheet.

Pick your trick then set up a spreadsheet with these columns:

  1. Website
  2. Login
  3. Password
  4. Answer to secret question (just write enough so you remember)
  5. Answer to secret question 2
  6. Answer to secret question 3
  7. Notes – for any info you might need beyond these.

Store your passwords in Google Drive, Dropbox, or other cloud storage in a locked document and you have access to it anywhere.

Pro: Simple to use. Easy to access.

Con: You have to enter your passwords or it doesn’t do any good.

Views: 26

Tags: 30, Challenge, Closet, Day, Home, Organizing, Passwords, Professional, Residential

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Comment by Rozialyn Burison on May 15, 2014 at 10:57pm
Yup! Believe it or not that is my favorite method as well. Have a great evening.
Comment by Antionette Blake on May 15, 2014 at 10:51pm

Yep, I am old skool and have spreadsheets for all of my sites and passwords!

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