Over the weekend, I had to open a new web account which required my email address and a secure password. I hate thinking up passwords. I hate recording them in a notebook, which is becoming as large as the English Oxford Dictionary. And I hate having to look up a password up each time I forget it, which is often. I admit, I’m slow to catch on to survival techniques in the virtual world. Happily, Tracy Saelinger has some suggestions. ( “Foolproof P@$$WoRD$,” by Tracy Saelinger, July/August Woman’s Day, pg. 145.) She suggest that besides choosing a favorite phrase and mixing upper with lower case letters, we swap a few symbols for letters, as she did in P@$$WoRD$. The suggestion is simple, easy to implement and only one of many found in her article.
Of course, creating a strong password isn’t the same as remembering it, and Saelinger has recommendations for that worry, too. Her first is to eliminate my three-ring binder and store my passwords in the Cloud at sites like icloud.com or onedrive.com. Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable with that idea, though I pass it along for those who are interested. But I figure If China can hack into the U. S. State Department, why should I assume the Cloud is safe?
Saelinger anticipates my worry. If I don’t like the Cloud, I can chose a commercial app which stores passwords on my computer or I can have someone to create a personal app. Either way, the app will make it possible for my correct password to be entered each time I log in. Unfortunately, like the Cloud, my computer can be hacked and becomes especially vulnerable if I chose an app from a company overseas. Saelinger recommends the safest options are: RoboForm, LastPass, DataVault or mSecure.
Saelinger has given me lots of choices for selecting and storing passwords, I admit. But after reading her article, I’m convinced my cheapest choice and the one that offers the greatest security may be is my three-ring binder.