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Passwords vs. Memory, a Security Problem

We all use the internet, if not; you would not be reading this article. Many places you visit on the internet require a logon ID and a password.  If you are like me in the past, I only had a few passwords so I do not have the problem of remembering them. For me I used variations of an important name in my life. This is the WRONG thing to do. Security consultants warn about using names, words or dates important to you because they can be figured out, such as your dogs name or your kids birthday.

They recommend 6 to 12 characters with a mix of upper case and lower case letters and numbers included. One company I worked for had software that when you inserted your password it had to be minimum 8 characters and had to include a minimum of 2 uppercase letters and 2 numbers.

Since my 3 passwords were used in many places, I wondered at times if someone stole my password and then found out the places I visited, they could get into many places such as my banking and credit card online accounts.

One day I was visiting one of the Project Managers at one of my client’s sites and we went to go online to check sometcomputer-securityhing. He went to the site where a logon and password screen showed up. He clicked a button on one of the toolbars and the information was automatically filled in. I thought he had the browser set to remember passwords and I knew all employees had access to that computer. I was shocked and mentioned it to him. He pointed to his USB memory stick and showed me a program.

I have used this for a few years now and lately friends have asked me what that was when I always plug my Flash drive into my laptop every time I turn it on. That is why I am writing this and have added their ad to my site for conveniences.

The program is called RoboForm.  I use RoboForm2go. This program resides on a USB Flash Memory drive. All you do is plug your Flash drive into any computer. Once you open your browser a toolbar will open. If you want to go to a site you click the “Logins” tab and you get a list of all your sites that you have a login and password. Once you click the item, it will take you to the URL; fill in your login and password and poof you’re in the site.
It also has a password generator that will create a password per your requirements, number of characters, if you want upper and/or lower case, numbers and/or special characters. It will then fill it into the form and let you save it.

If you do a lot of contests or sweepstakes where you need to fill in name, address and all other info, or buy things online and need credit card info, you can store it in the forms area and one click will fill in the form for you.

The program has a Master Password that you need to enter the first time you start a session using it. If you ever forget that password the program is useless. And when you’re done and eject it, there is nothing left on the computer you were using. No files or footprints. I have tried to get into the data file to see if someone stole it, could they get my information? It is so encrypted; I do not think anyone could.

With the use of internet cafes, it is a great tool, just take your Flash drive out of your pocket, and plug it into the USB port and away you go. When you are to go just eject it and put it back in your pocket. It also has a setting to log it out after a period of time, so if you forget it and someone sits at that computer, after your time setting expires, they would have to log in again to use it.

Now, with all the places I need to log into, they all have their own unique password and I do not have to remember them. I do periodically copy the data file to my backup flash drive in case I lose one.

There is a free version of RoboForm that allows 10 items or a Pro version that has unlimited passcards and more.

4 Responses to “Passwords vs. Memory, a Security Problem”

  1. John in Austria says:

    Hi,

    Very good and timely article. There are many good password programs out there. One I use is Passpack which can also be used on a USB stick. One additional backup of the data file should be to the hard drive on your home computer. It’s encrypted so no one can read it. (as long as you used a good long complicated password!) 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      John,
      I agree there are many. I mentioned and now advertising RoboForm since I have used it for a few years and had no problems or complaints with it. I looked at Passpack and do not like some other company or server, no matter how secure have my passwords. Even the biggest credit card companies, AOL and even government agencies have been hacked with information stolen. I prefer to keep it in my pocket.

  2. GraySpirit says:

    This is really nice to know. I had all my passwords stored in a text file and it was getting to be a rain pain in the butt having to constantly look them up. Thanks for the post!

    • Bruce says:

      GraySpirit,
      I hope your computer was password protected. Files have been known to be stolen. I have a cousin that carried a little book with his sites, login and a code to tell him what the password would be. Too confusing for me. With RoboForm, I just plug it in at any computer, type one password and then just pick a place I need to go and it brings me there, fills out the form and I am in the site. All for the cost of a USB and a low one time purchase.

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