by: Richard Lowe, Jr.
been on the internet for any length of time, you've collected
about a zillion accounts and their associated passwords. Personally,
I have over 500 different active accounts all over the web and
probably a thousand more inactive or unused accounts.
don't have anywhere near that number, but I'll bet you have
at least a couple of dozen. Let's see, you've probably got an
account at your bank's website, a few credit cards, egroups,
perhaps a few webrings, your ISP, email, hotmail, perhaps AOL,
and a few others that you don't use as often.
If you are
like most people, you cannot even come close to remembering
it all. In fact, a lot of people simply create the same account
name and password everywhere ... and that's extremely dangerous.
a hacker figures out your AOL account and password. If every
other account that you own has the same username and password
... well, you get the idea. Now all he has to do is figure out
where you have accounts ... but he could just try it at a number
of say, banking sites or credit card sites, and perhaps he will
get lucky. You may make it even easier for him by mentioning
your sites in your AOL emails or on your web site.
So how do
you protect yourself? First, make sure your passwords are all
different. Don't use the same password on all of your accounts
... and try and use a few different usernames if you can.
sure and choose some password that are not so easy to guess.
Avoid names (husband, wife, kids, cats and so on), social security
and phone numbers, addresses and anything else that someone
could figure out if they knew anything about you.
some common words. Did you know that the most common password
is simply "password". "God" is also common,
especially amoung system managers. Avoid common words such as
Now you've got all of your 30 or so accounts set up with different
account names and different difficult-to-guess passwords. How
are you going to remember them all?
one is be prepared for disaster. Write down all of your usernames
and passwords in a notebook (yes, on paper). No, really. You
need to do this because computers sometimes die, and when they
do it's at the worst possible time. You may not even have a
backup, and if you loose all of your passwords you could lose
notebook safe, perhaps locked in a drawer. It's probably a good
idea to keep a copy in your safe deposit box - so someone can
get to your accounts after you die, perhaps, or if you are in
the hospital or something else happens.
a computer record also, which you will maintain more up-to-date.
I like using a program called Password Tracker, although you
could just as easily use Excel or even notepad. The idea is
to record all of your account information as you create or change
it. Password Tracker is great because it also gives you tools
to enter the data for you.
good product is Gator (I use both Password Tracker and Gator)
which can fill in forms and automatically log in accounts as
you surf to them.
and keep backups of the Gator and Password Tracker databases
... believe me, you don't want to lose this information if you
can avoid it.
By the way,
I've learned to avoid the automatic account and password features
of Internet Explorer. Why? Because there is no way to save,
print out or get to the information. Thus, if the computer dies
I lose my passwords with no way to recover. I don't use Netscape
much, but I would guess the same thing applies.
use different account names and passwords for your various web
sites. Record them on paper and store that somewhere safe. In
addition, you can use programs link Excel, Gator and Password
Tracker to save all of this information for you. Finally, and
very importantly, be very prepared for disaster.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets.
This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your
internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.
Arevalo-Lowe is the webmistress of Internet Tips And Secrets
and Surviving Asthma. Visit her site at http://survivingasthma.com