Open Sesame!


by Steve Deal on May 29, 2012

Can you guess my password?


If you’ve been on the internet more than a week, you have a password for something.   I have 833 passwords as of this week.   How in the world, you might ask, do you remember 833 passwords??

It’s easy – they are all the same – BR-549 !!

Well, actually, no.

But that’s a strategy many people unintentionally adopt when they first get started.


They get a password  for the email account.  And when they need a password for YouTube, they use the same one.  And then their Facebook account.  And eventually the bank account.

It all comes unraveled when a hacker breaks into ANY account – and then has access to ALL the accounts.  So you really need a DIFFERENT password for each website and each account.

I think one good answer to this problem is a ‘Password Manager‘.  It’s a program to keep track of your passwords, and feed them back to you as you need them.   You can do it with Post-It notes on your monitor, but trust me, when you hit several hundred, it just looks like a Monarch butterfly.


I use a program called LastPass.  Think of it like a ‘safe’ or ‘vault’ that holds all the passwords.  You only have to remember one really good password – the ‘key’.     The passwords are stored securely on the internet.  When you go to a website, LastPass fills in the username/password for you.

LastPass also generates passwords for you.  So it will suggest a great password (e.g., TG3qQCMEPTBs) instead of your dog’s name.  You can still pick your own – I like to use words and numbers  (e.g., Columbus1492).

It’s free.  I pay an extra $1/month to get a mobile version for the phone, so I always have passwords with me (and to support their work).  This also allows ‘two factor authentication’, which is a fancy way of saying I have something on my keychain you have to have to open my vault.

If you are at wit’s end managing passwords, or concerned about using the same password everywhere, consider a password manager.


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