Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Q&A: Password Pointers!

Question: I have a password for work access, another one to log into my bank account, then a different password for email, and the list goes on and on.  When I create a "strong" password, I can never remember it. Do you have some tips?

Answer:  Yes!  A great way to create a strong password that you can remember is to use a phrase that represents how you feel when you log onto that website.  Translate the first letter of each word into a letter or number. Have fun with it!

Example: email keeps me in touch with loved ones
Ekmitw<31s        Note:  <3 is a heart

Question: What if I just can't keep all these passwords straight?  Is it okay to write them down, or store them on my computer or phone, or to use a password vault service?

Answer:  This is a personal preference. Here is some feedback on some of the most common options:

Writing them down:  If you need to write them down, don't completely spell out what every password matches back to for your accounts. Also, don't store your password book near the computer. Lock it in a safe when you are not using it. 

Electronic file:  Do not put them in an electronic file that you store on your computer or on your phone.  Even if you "hide" the file by calling it something else,  that is a lot like locking the door and leaving the key under the mat, you might be okay or someone might find it.  

Password vaults:  For some individuals,  you may decide you would like to use a password vault. We have tested several but some of the best ones were really meant for techies and are not easy to use. However, a few options are on the market that might work for you. As with every service, ask the provider questions:  how do you protect me?  If there is a breach, how soon will you notify me and what method (a letter, phone, email or all of the above)?  If you go out of business, where does that leave me?

There are many packages to choose from and you should read the features and reviews before picking one that is right for you.  To get you started, some options that you might want to explore are:
Norton identity safe (free), last pass (free for basic version),  dashlane (free), Trend Micro DirectPass, RoboForm, and MyLOK .

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