With our world becoming more and more "connected", most people
have many online usernames & passwords for various social
networking, news, shopping, banking & other services.
Many of the people that I speak to still do one or all of the
- Write down their passwords or store them in a file on their
- Remember one password and use the same one everywhere.
Often this password is very weak and involves pets or partners
- Accept their browsers' offers to remember passwords.
Now I know that we're all human and very very busy and can't be
bothered thinking about this but it is not good practice!!
Please stop now! It's very dangerous and one day it will very
likely happen that your password will be discovered and, if you're
unlucky, possibly used against you. Shudder to think of the
damage that could be done to your finances and your reputation.
What to do instead? Use a password
manager! What's a password manager I hear you
ask? Well it's a little program that stores all of your
usernames & passwords securely so that they can only be
accessed by the manager itself, or by authorised browser plugins,
or by you, with a single master password.
Which password manager? There are a number out there, but
I've only used 2 of them personally.
- Keepass. I've been using keepass for a few years, and while
it was very good & I got on very very well with it, one feature
that it lacks (at the time of writing) is the ability to access the
vault from multiple computers or locations. But it's free
& works well (once you've figured out the somewhat cryptic
installation instructions) so I recommend it for anyone who's only
got one computer & never wants to access passwords from any
other devices or locations.
I switched to LastPass in
January after getting frustrated with not being able to login to
anything on other computers, or my iPad. Working around this
problem was causing me to frequently revert to No. 2 of the silly
mistakes above. You create an online account, but the
passwords themselves are not stored online, they're stored on your
computer in an encrypted form which can only be unlocked with your
own password. So it's secure as long as you logout when you
leave your computer. That's really important! There are
browser plugins available that autofill login forms for you, and
this is very handy, save your usernames & passwords as you type
them in. It also scans your computer for unsecured passwords
stored in browsers (it won't find the text file you're keeping
though so delete that, as well as any reminder emails). I've
been getting on very well with the Firefox plugin but there are
plugins available for the other browsers too, just follow the
instructions on the website. Go to LastPass now & get