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?

  1. Create a text file that holds all that information and keep it on a thumb drive I carry with me at all times.
  2. 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.
  3. Save that file in Google Docs (or Dropbox or something similar) and password protect it.  Is that really secure?
  4. 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?




  1. Professional Crastinator

    Zannah, what type of phone do you have? Is it Android? I made a little Java app here at work to basically do #4, but I think I can make it into an app if that would work for you.

  2. Eric uses #4 and seems to like it. I’ve been thinking of going that way myself with so many recent break-ins at various major sites. I’ve had to run around and change my passwords everywhere lately. I even recently saw an “authorized” login attemtp in my bank login logs that wasn’t me, so then I changed my password and later saw an unauthorized login attempt that wasn’t me. So someone was definitely in my bank account briefly.

    My only concern with #4 is what if THEY get hacked? Then all of your passwords to everything are compromised. I hate computer security sometimes. And hackers.

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