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Where do you store your passwords? In your head?

How do you set your passwords – different one for each site? Or maybe only slightly different? Maybe even NOT different? 🙂

How I used to deal with passwords

headTill today I was performing that this way: when the website wasn’t important so much (forums, single-use internet shops, spam email etc.) I was using one shared password for this purpose.

For my primary email, Facebook account and finance accounts I had different ones – and quite strong, but still somehow conventional.

But there are many sites you need to cover nowadays: Twitter, remaining emails accounts, some developer based accounts (i.e. Visual Studio Dev Essentials) – these make it quite a few accounts to store in your head actually!

And recently when I launched my blog I got plenty of accounts to remember additionally. It started to be a mess. Dangerous mess.

Password managers

password managerWhat is password manager? This is a simple program either a desktop app or browser plugin which helps you manage your passwords, checks for their strength, ensures no password is repeated on another website and generates a good (strong) password for you when you create a new account somewhere (or change a password for existing one). Cool stuff!

You probably suspect this approach is not ideal. But… have you ever met ideal approach? 🙂

Yes, the app may be hacked and someone will steal your passwords. But! It is veeeery unlikely since this is these apps creators job to keep them safe for you!

Think about it the other way. What is more probable – one of web service you currently use will be hacked. And then all other websites you use with same passwords will be threatened!

As I like to minimize the risk, I choose Password Manager for myself.

I surely won’t trust such app entirely – my primary email and finance accounts will remain only in my head – but all accounts that have multi-factor authentication, that have resetting password mechanism (just in case I would lose access to my password base) would be transferred to my little, precious, confidential password database.

Advantages

The most important thing is that you have a strong password which is different on each website. Thus you are safe when any of the websites you use is compromised.

You no longer need to remember your (strong!) passwords. You don’t need to even type them! The program will do it for yourself, so you will save some time.

Sample solutions

I’ve started with using such app today and I chose the Last Pass. But there are few alternatives:

To sum up

As far as you don’t have too many websites (logins with passwords) to remember, and you manage to store all of them (and different ones!) in your head – you’re safe. And you don’t need any password manager. But I have quite a lot of it – I recently stopped dealing with remembering my private passwords and started to repeat them. Then I launched this blog and got quite a few new sites to remember: WordPress logins, hosting logins, Coding happiness’ Visual Studio Dev account, two emails (wojciech and contact @ codinghappiness.com), database admin account for CodeMate… and more! I must admit I was overwhelmed by these – and now I really know I need Password Manager.

What about you?

Somewhat experienced programmer who tries to find intrinsic meaning in each act he does. Increasingly builds his courage to let his life be driven by passion. Currently giving blogging a whirl.