The Do's and Dont's of Password Management

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Passwords; seems like we are constantly getting a new one. More sites require logins and passwords are frequently changed in the workplace. Microsoft recently conducted a study on user passwords. The average user has 6.5 passwords, which are shard across 3.9 different sites. Each user has about 25 accounts that require passwords and types an average of eight passwords each day.

Remembering all those passwords can present a challenge. There are a number of ways to keep track of your passwords; here is a list of different methods to try and some not to try.

  1. Do use password management software – they offer several helpful functions: automation of website logons, capturing existing passwords or generating random passwords. They also store passwords with their respective user names in a secure file.
    1. KeePass is a free downloadable password manager. It keeps all your online and offline passwords in a secure database so you only have to remember one password.
    2. Norton Confidential from Symantec also stores and encrypts passwords.
  2. Don’t rely on your browser – Most major browsers offer to store your username or passwords for sites. While this can save you time, they are not secure and not reliable either.
  3. Don’t use the same password for everything – Not only is this becoming less feasible since websites have different requirements, it’s an open invitation to hackers.
  4. Do have a system for generating memorable passwords – First, create a base password, like a combination of your mother’s initials and the day you graduated from college. Then add a variation of the name of the website you are logging into. Like “isf020389”, and then add the first two and last two letters of the site “osf020389faok for Facebook.com.
    LAST UPDATED 2/13/2008