Avoid password fatigue with a password storage system

Password Management

Article from Issue 122/2011
Author(s):

Keeping track of all your passwords can be tricky. Kurt says: Keep your friends close and your passwords closer.

While I was writing this article, I ran across a great phrase so perfect for this month’s topic that I have to share it with you: “password fatigue” [1]. Because we all have multiple accounts with different usernames, passwords, security questions, PIN numbers, and whatnot, we end up with way too many passwords.

Often you can’t use the same username (e.g., because your name has already been taken or the system assigns a name), and you definitely should not use the same password (a compromise of one system would then let the attacker into all your accounts). As for security questions, you should never use “real” information (like your zip code), because this information is easily discovered and used to reset or recover your password from the service provider. To be safe, you need to choose a good strong password – different for each site you use. I personally have around 350 passwords, security questions, and so on, of which I probably use 50-100 on a regular basis. And it drives me nuts.

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