organizing passwords

Maura63September 14, 2006

Please share your secret for remembering all of your passwords for various sites you visit.

If you "store" them on your computer, or write them down -- what do you use to contain them all in one place?

How do you "protect" this sensitive information?

An idea that I have loosely implemented is to have a similar password for each site. The ending might be the same: ***** But the front of the password would be customized to the site I'm visiting. For example.... If my ending is always the name of childhood pet, "ROVER", I might make a password for Barnes & Noble to be "BNrover" or for Gardenweb to be "GWrover" or for Hallmark to be "HMrover" And if it case-sensitive then I start with caps and put "rover" in lowercase. But I question the security factor of this method. (This also gets trickier if a combination of letters and numbers are required).

So -- where do you store passwords and/or how do you remember them?

Maura :-)

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I have a Word Folder named passwords. Each site that I use is saved as a separate document and contains the URL of the site, user name and password. If you are concerned about the security of the site, you can password protect it, or just keep it on a floppy disk or a CD and not on your hard drive.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 3:54PM
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For important stuff like banking or stocks, we have three basic passwords which are family jokes. If I forget, I only have to try those three.

For unimportant stuff like Gardenweb or Yahoo accounts, I always use the same password. Have for years and years. I'm not too worried about someone posting here. If I'm assigned a password on a forum, I just keep the email copy. Again, it's not important.

I don't set up accounts for online shopping. I just go as a new user each time. The less passwords I have to deal with, the better.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 5:50PM
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I do pretty much as Gloria does. For financial sites, I use a certain phrase with letters and numbers, substituting a character for one of the letters, as in:

@pples@regre@t4u (apples are great for you)

All other sites are one of three passwords, all similar. If a site assigns me a password, I immediately change it to one of my regular passwords.

I have all the passwords written down in a Word document, too.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:01PM
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Use Roboform - simple, safe & password protected. Will autofill forms if you choose. Used for likely 4 years now. I've paid for the full version the last couple but started out with the *free* version.
FWIW :-))

Here is a link that might be useful: Roboform

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 12:24AM
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I use this sheet,. I copied and pasted it to a Word Document and filled it in I also printed out a couple of copies and keep one in my bank ledger and one under the blotter on my desk.

Here is a link that might be useful: Internet Tracker Checklist

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 12:43AM
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Fori is not pleased

As soon as I crack Maura's password, I'll reply.

OK. I write them down in a tattered book by my computer, along with login ID. I save them on the computer where it's possible, but when the kids get older it might be better to unclick that "save password" box! I do use similar passwords so I can usually guess if I need to, but they've evolved (to be a little more secure) over the years and when I need a 10 year old password, it can be pretty hard.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 10:12AM
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LOL, fori :-)

My kids *are* older and more computer-savy than I am, so I prefer not to leave the password stored (as in REMEMBER ME) on some sites. (Others, like this one, are no problem.) For online shopping, ebay, paypal, etc. I don't want them to have access to order status, or history files, in case there are gifts for them. Or to tempt them with easy "quick checkout" features. (Although I don't think it would ever occur to them to use this feature, I could guarantee that would only happen ONCE since computer privelges would be banned for ever!)

Thanks to all for the ideas and links .... I think I will centrally store them on a Word Document for now... and print out a "back-up" copy (to put in a safe-deposit box so fori can't find it!)

Just kidding about the safe-deposit box.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 10:47AM
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I went to the local dollar store and bought a small, pretty address book and I store all my passwords and user names in it. It lives near my computer and can be dropped in my purse if I happen to go away. It works great! I now feel least in one area!!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 6:35PM
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There are several programs that will save your passwords on your computer... of course you have to remember that password to get in it!

For unimportant passwords, I use the same one. If you really want to minimize these, make your "default" password one that contains 8 characters and at least one number, that should fit most website parameters.

I have a slightly more complicated password that I use for financial data websites, but I admit that I use the same one as often as possible.

But honestly? If it's really important, I'd rather have to have the website resend it or reset it rather than have it written down on paper where any snoop or crook could get their hands on it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 6:38PM
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Do we know anybody who had a crook sneak into their home, ignore the t.v. the jewelry,& the vcr so they could sit down check the paper slips, use the password and order from home shopping network or whatever? Burglars will steal your laptop, so of course you would password protect everything, and also put your drivers license number on the back and maybe your name also. The little book with the passwords needs to look boring and not be next to the laptop.
as a lawyer I deal with clients who are victims of identity theft. That is unfortunately done by family members most often.Niece or nephew in about 70% of the cases I have seen. They get the password by asking what it is. They take checks when nobody is looking. Next are often caregivers who have been asked to write checks for the market, etc. Hackers are not getting their info from little slips of paper in your home desk.
They phish for info, they hack, etc. So the people who use the same good passwords are probably correct, and Gloria's idea of using a different one each time you order from a given website is terrific.Keep it simple.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 3:54AM
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I was thinking more of shifty relatives, or acquaintances who have drug problems you're unaware of, or dishonest service people that you invite into your home, rather than random burglars off the street who just want your pawnable items.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 2:15PM
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For family members using the same computer, consider setting up different, password-protected, profiles in Windows XP, if that's the OS you use. Then you can have the browser save your passwords without anyone being able to just sit down at the computer and pull them up.

And I agree with Marge 727 (I'm also a lawyer who knows that most crimes are committed by family members and friends of the victim). I store my passwords in a Word file with an entirely unrelated name. Something like "Treating a sick cat" or "Window treatments."

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 4:42PM
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Just to clarify, my little address book works for me! I live alone, and rarely have visitors to my home except for my 2 grown children, and my very young grandchildren, whom I trust completely and who are never allowed near my computer! That little book does live near my computer, which is NOT a laptop, in a concealed location, known only to me, as is its contents. Somehow, I don't envision anyone coming into my home looking for something they do not even know exists, and certainly cannot see without searching for it. On the other hand, even with my excellent virus protection and firewalls, I do not have the same feeling of security when storing sensitive information on my computer. And using only a couple passwords for a multitude of sites, is only a couple passwords a hacker would have to know to access my personal information! I will take my chances with my little book!! :>)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 1:38PM
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Be careful about storing the passwords on your computer without a hard copy or a computer backup in case the computer dies unexpectedly. At least copy the file to a floppy every time you update it.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 4:44PM
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