How do I keep track of all my passwords?

Image by Michael Giuffrida for Computer securityPasswords are important, I don’t think anyone would dispute that. And in today’s day and age, most sites are requiring that passwords are “complex”. A complex password is one that has multiple nuances to it making it harder to crack by a hacker.  Examples of those nuances are upper case letters, numbers and special characters.  The challenge for a user is coming up with complex passwords and remembering them.  This is particularly difficult when different sites use different rules about what makes a password complex.  Some sites require a special character like a ‘$’. Other sites restrict any special characters and don’t allow them at all. Some require a capital letter and others don’t. The same same disparity exists with using numbers. So what is an average user to do who has passwords for multiple apps and websites?

There is always the age old method of writing them down on a sticky note and pasting it on your monitor, but that pretty much defeats the purpose of having a private password. Slightly more secure is creating a spreadsheet with all of your passwords in it and putting a password on that spreadsheet. But that method has its challenges as well as breaking the password on a spreadsheet is not that difficult for someone who really wants to break it.

Don’t worry though, you can sleep at night again as there are options that can help. You can use a third party system that is purpose built for password management.  As example of one of these is LastPass. These systems store all of your passwords for you and have very tight security to ensure that your passwords are safe. Many of these systems have browser and app based versions and will manage all of the password for you so all you need to do is remember one complex password to the system.

Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997.  He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed services.

16 thoughts on “How do I keep track of all my passwords?

  • Interesting blog post. I store all my passwords on a spreadsheet that is password protected. I always thought it was secure enough. If it was hacked all my financial and medical records would have to be changed and hopefully none of my accounts were compromised. I definitely will consider LastPass as a safer way to secure them.

  • Excellent advice. In haste, and not yet ‘burned’, too many of us typically ignore helpful tips like this. Thanks also for the link to LastPass.

  • I think the three password managers most people defer to are lastpass (as mentioned here) keeppass and password safe. I use password safe but not for any other reason than it’s what I have always used. One thing I like (that maybe the others do to) is that to open my password safe I use a private key that is stored on a USB key, that avoids having to remember the password safe password and avoids having it on the same computer. So unless someone were to get both the laptop and the USB key (and know how to use them) my passwords stay safe. PS. I recommend keeping the private key on multiple other pieces of media in case the USB key gets damaged …oh I don’t know say in the wash!!!!

  • Thanks for posting. I will definitely check-out LastPass! I need a good app to manage my passwords and I’m glad you suggested one.

  • I personally have used LastPass for quite a while and love it! The most important thing is to make sure that the one password for your password manager is super secure. If someone can guess that one password, they get all your other passwords wrapped up in a nice package.

  • So I guess its time to get rid of my Rolodex card file and check into LastPass or a similar app. Thanks for the good advice.

  • Great recommendations for an increasingly important topic. As someone who has fallen victim to being hacked, I’m always concerned about the security of passwords. I will certainly consider LastPass as an option to protect information. Thanks for the tips and the link.

  • Great post considering we see news stories about passwords on a regular basis and of course the annual list of what not to use. I’ve been using Lastpass for several years now and it has been very helpful because I can’t remember all the different passwords I’ve created trying to use different passwords on different sites. Probably time to let it start creating passwords for me as the complexity requirements become greater.

  • This is a great post and addresses one of my major concerns of password protection. I had planned to research this topic myself though it never hit my radar. This is timely and informative and I thank Michael for his notes and recommendations.

  • Mike I like this post. This is something that everyone struggles with. We use Lastpass at my work and it’s a life saver. I can’t imagine trying to remember all of those passwords without writing them down or saving them somewhere.

  • Good to hear all the positive feed back on Lastpass. I have been struggling with all the manual approaches but I am very well versed in password resets.

  • I must confess I have not even gotten to the spreadsheet stage in my quest for security but I am past the sticky notes which I recently destroyed after organizing the passwords in a little notebook. I don’t know which is worse, worrying about a hacker or crashing your hard drive and forgetting the really important passwords that autofill.

    Maybe it is time to try another bit of software, after all for every security genius there is a hacker trying to win.

  • Thank you for sharing this! I am horrible about passwords. If I can’t get into anything using my 2 normal passwords, I wind up having to reset it. Not a very efficient system!

  • Thank you for sharing. I wasn’t aware of Lastpass and therefore haven’t considered apps of this kind before. In a world where we need a password for just about anything it does get challenging to keep track especially when they constantly need to be updated for security reasons. I have definitely made the mistake of writing them down in the past but I never write down any related to banking or financials.

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