If you have a file on your computer called “passwords”, read this:

Password security is very important. I commonly see individuals and teams saving their passwords in their email inboxes or in a file on their desktops, usually in a stealthily named “Passwords.doc” file. Maybe you remember the story from 2014 about Sony’s password file getting hacked? The name of this file was … “Passwords”. There are many stories like this, and it’s a BIG issue. If someone hacks your computer, it goes without saying this is a pretty obvious place to get access all of your accounts. Once someone logs into your account, they can steal credit card and other personal information, and wreak havoc. If you don’t think you have anything a hacker wants, ask anyone who has had their identity stolen.

This aside, I know very well how hard it is to remember all your different passwords. Storing your passwords IN your computer insecurely isn’t the only problem ( I mean you, handwritten-password-list people, sticky-notes-on-the-monitor people, and people with one-common-password-the-same-as-your-wifi-password.  )

Some of these solutions are more secure then others, and some are easier to implement, but some form of these should be implemented with priority.

That’s why I’m going to share a few handy solutions with you.

For approximately $89CAD, ( occasionally on sale )  you can securely store all of your passwords in one spot. This information is encrypted, which makes it just about impossible for hackers to get at. They have a free 30-day trial if you want to try it out. This is the solution I use, but I have literally hundreds of passwords to keep track of, and you may not need all the features this very advanced software touts.
Dashlane is very similar to 1Password, though it’s free and also acts as a digital wallet. It automatically saves screenshots and receipts from your online purchases for you as well.

Password-lock your notes

First, make sure you have a secure password to log on to your computer. If you are unsure what that is, or how to do it, contact me through the contact form.

If you’re really not into learning how to use yet another piece of software, you can password protect files on your computer. This isn’t totally foolproof, but it’s useful if you have a lot of outside contractors or want to protect your “Passwords” file.

If you use a Mac, open Notes. On the top menu bar you will see a lock icon. You can save your passwords here and lock the note. Alternatively, in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote you can select to “Set Password” under the “File” menu (top left).

On a PC, right click on the file or folder you want to protect, and choose Properties. On the General tab click the Advanced button and check the box that says “Encrypt contents to secure data”. Make sure you save that setting.

To password-protect a Microsoft Word file, visit this site for instructions

Lastly, it would be worthless to go to the trouble of setting up a solution like 1Password or Dashlane and then leave the “Passwords.doc” file on your computer, so make sure to delete all copies of it and any password-containing emails in your inbox and avoid sending staff or friends your passwords over email.

PRO TIP: print a copy of the “Passwords.doc” file and put it in a safe or safety deposit box. Just in case your computer becomes unbootable.

Don’t make it easy for hackers to get at your information. I highly recommend you prioritize this task. I’ve helped many clients with an upgraded password solution, individually designed for their comfort level, but always more secure then the default. Contact me by email on the contact page for an personal appointment.