The first snowfall, then Thanksgiving is right around the corner, as its shopping season. So I decided to order from one of my favorite online sites and needed my password to proceed. But guess what? I didn’t remember my password for that site. I tried a couple of different passwords, but they weren’t the right ones. Has this ever happened to you?
So how do you keep track of all your passwords, user names and numbers required to access the information you need on a daily basis? Do you have an EBay, iTunes or Amazon account? You need a user name and password. Want to check your email or bank account? How about pay a bill online? All should have different and strong user names and passwords.
Then there are the numbers and security hints. Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, bank accounts and driver’s license numbers. What’s your or your family members’ health insurance policy number? Can you remember the fake name you gave for the dog you had in high school? The list goes on.
As enticing as it may be, simply using the same password for all your accounts isn’t really very smart. So if you do things properly, how do you remember all this information? Just as importantly, how do you keep this information secure?
Relax. The answer is as close as your smart phone, iPad or tablet! It’s a little thing called a password manager app. These apps are kind of a “digital safe” where you save and organize all your passwords, user names, PIN codes and numbers for accounts, computers, networks and websites in an encrypted file, which protects your confidential data from potential hackers and others that may have access to your desktop, laptop or mobile device.
And the best part is you only have to remember one master password. The password manager remembers the rest, and most often it can sync this information across your other mobile and desktop devices through access to the cloud. This local syncing capability means you don’t have to worry about losing access to one of your devices or the cloud because your info is automatically loaded to the others.
Entering all the details into your app for the first time can be tedious, but once done it makes your life so much easier. You just add new info as you go along. Also, most password managers can generate passwords for you, taking that task off your hands. Many can even fill in forms and log in to websites for you.
There are countless password managers available for your smart phone, iPad or tablet. Just go to your device’s mobile application store and search “password manager.” Prices range from the always popular free to $9.99. Some apps you pay for and download once and are automatically downloaded to your other devices. Others must be purchased separately for each device.
Most stores have reviews of each app. Take your time and read them. You’ll find what people that have tried the app think of it, as well as what other password apps they may recommend instead and why.
Password manager apps can solve the problem of remembering all your passwords by keeping them in one secure place. They can also store the personal stuff you need everyday to live in today’s data driven world.
Just remember one thing: Don’t forget the password to your password manager!
Cheryl Parson is the president of the Better Business Bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at www.lima.bbb.org.