Making It To Management - Password Management, That Is

Wow, it looks like you're having a bad day.

First, you got a financial tip; pork bellies are out, beans are in. You'll have to access your managed futures portfolio right away or you're ruined. Also, your mother-in-law's birthday is coming up, and she wants a new Ikea milk frother. Worst of all, your library book, The World's Strongest Librarian, is overdue.

Nothing that can't be fixed by spending a little time on the computer, right? Except that your wife, high on antihistamines, has knocked over a cup of coffee and ruined the random scraps of paper that contain all your user names and passwords.

I don't know how many passwords the average person needs, but I have them for Facebook, two phones, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, bank accounts, Kaiser, 2 email accounts, Ebay, Etsy, Amazon and Zappos, to name a few. At work, there's my computer login password (that one changes every 3 months) as well as those for several databases, virtual reference, another phone, our staff webpage, and the software to write this blog.

The only reason I can remember that many passwords is that they're all variations on a central theme; only a capitalized letter here or a changed number there distinguish them. But apparently this is wrong. Our passwords must be not only strong, but very different from each other. Other mistakes include sharing passwords, post-it notes in full view, on flashdrives or hidden in a shoe, as my own mother does. These scenarios can result in hackers, crackers and cyberthieves invading your accounts.

The answer lies in "password manager" software. This type of tool will safely store all of your passwords, usernames, and other private information. A fairly recent article in PC Magazine rates some of these products, but I was drawn to LastPass, because of its price (free) and also a co-worker already did some research and chose this one.

Basically, you create a master password that nobody else can guess, which enables you to log onto your favorite websites with a few simple steps on any computer that you use. You can also submit additional information for the purpose of automatically filling in commonly used forms, making online shopping easier, which is something that we all need.

There's a small time commitment up front, but the peace of mind is well worth the effort. Check out the fast-moving Screencasts or, for plodders such as myself, the LastPass User's Manual will supply you with everything you need to get started.

Written by Lisa on July 11, 2013


Geisha on July 11, 2013


Thank u very much for the info...I sure need something like that and I didn't know about this...and free!

Anonymous on January 6, 2016


I took this advice and it has worked very well for me (I use Keepass) . . .until the library started requesting my account password to check out books.

Yesterday after I fumbled around trying to find and use my password -- which has some special characters in it, a librarian advised me to change my password back to my birth year. "Works for everyone else," he said.

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