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Trying to remember all those passwords may be a good anti-senility exercise. However, given the magnitude of sites requiring passwords, always being able to remember them is just impossible, especially when we are now being told to change your passwords frequently.

Creating Passwords and Passphrases

I’ve become more and more aware that even my simple home computer used by only me is vulnerable to attack.  Creating a strong password is essential to protecting yourself.

(This discussion applies only to your own personal computer and internet usage. Business computers usually require the assurance of computer security technologists.)

I am not a password guru. So, I went to the web. As is frequently the case, I found many, even conflicting opinions about the best way to create an effective password.  In this situation, I choose the most recent information.

The best passwords  seem to be made up of  a combination of at least eight,  unrelated lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols that you put together randomly.  For example, a strong password could be bhOp3^*L2   Yes, hard to remember but not as easy to hack as your name and a few numbers.

Passphrases, which are made up of at least four, random, unrelated words, are considered to be somewhat safer than passwords.  You also can add numbers, symbols and capital letters.  For example, a strong passphrase could be whiteseriousdelaymoon — or evenwhiteSeriousdelayMoon#95    

You can check the strength of your proposed passwords and passphrases by using Online Domain Tools Password Checker.  Just click and open in a new tab.

Don’t forget that, to reduce the possibility of being hacked, you need a different, unique password or passphrase for each site. And, you should change these frequently.

How Do I Remember All Those Passwords and PassPhrases?

Most likely, you cannot.  You need a strategy to manage them easily and at a level that is appropriate to your own sense of security and comfort using your computer and the internet.

Wing It

One way to manage to remember your password is to wing it.  Don’t write it down, just try to remember.  Can’t remember, click on “Forgot your password?”   And follow the instructions.  You may end up changing your password a lot but that is good.

Paper and Pen

Personally, I think that the best way to manage your passwords is to write them down on paper.  I have a small notebook that I keep in a special secure place, known only to me. Cannot be erased, lost, forgotten or hacked.

Keep your records simple. I have a page for each website that requires a password.  I write in dark permanent ballpoint so that it cannot be erased accidentally.  When I change the password, I cross out the old password and enter the new one. However, don’t cross out the old password until you are sure the new one works.

I also keep any specific identification information that might be required by the site, such as my username for that site.

By the way, you also can use this notebook to record other non-internet passwords, such as how to get into the front door of your apartment building.

Password Management Programs and Applications

There are various computer-based and online password management programs and applications.  Their basic function is to store your passwords safely either on your computer or online; however, their individual capabilities vary depending on the platform such as phone, laptop and pc.

Some search engines have their own password saving programs.  Recently, the security of this feature on Google Chrome and Firefox has been question.  Click and open in a new tab.

Some of the free password management programs that you can review by clicking and opening in a new tab, are

I have SafeWallet on  my computer, which uses the most advanced encryption technologies that exists today.  Only you know the password,so don’t lose it.  (Save it in your notebook.) Not only can you save all your passwords but also your bank account details, passports, insurance policy numbers and even your clothing size (now that’s really a secret).   PCWorld has a good review of this product.  Click and open in a new tab.

Even if you use an online password management program or application, I strongly suggest that you also maintain an old-fashion (to some people) paper and pen system.  You never know what can happen to computer stored information—-or maybe you do know, from experience.