We all have too many accounts and too many passwords. This is not a new problem, I know, but it’s been steadily getting worse since the early days of mainstream internet access. Back in 1996, I only had my AOL account and password to remember. Now I have more accounts than I can easily list. I can usually figure my password out for a particular account, but it sometimes takes me a couple of tries, and there have been any number of times I’ve had to use the Forgot Password? link or (gasp) had to actually call tech support for help. I know you’re not supposed to keep a list or file of your passwords, and so far, I never have, but I think I’ve gotten to the point where I really need to. Chalk it up to an aging (WordPress seems to think it should be spelled ageing. I think that’s crazy.) memory or an overabundance of accounts – it doesn’t matter to me. But how should I do it?
- Create a text file that holds all that information and keep it on a thumb drive I carry with me at all times.
- Same as above, but keep it hidden safe at home somewhere. Safer than #1, but not at all useful if I need to log in to something away from home, which happens ALL the time.
- Save that file in Google Docs (or Dropbox or something similar) and password protect it. Is that really secure?
- Use one of those password manager applications, like the one that creates crazy (but secure) passwords for each of your accounts, then saves them for you in a password-protected file/app/website/thing you can access anywhere. Assuming the password you use to get into that application is one you can remember, it seems like a huge pain in the ass to have to access that application just to log in to every place we need to log in nowadays.
#4 there seems to place more of an emphasis on making sure all those individual passwords I already can’t remember are actually secure, which is nice, but not really what I was after when I started thinking about my problem. What other options do I have? Are any of those good ideas?