Passwords. Gotta have them. Gotta keep them safe from hackers and computer ne’er-do-wells. Online banking is password protected. My email account is password protected. My mortgage information is password protected. Even this blog is password protected. I can’t shop at my favorite virtual stores without a password or three. Perhaps the only thing not password protected these days is my trusty canine companion, EmmaLou. But, she has an identity chip under her skin, and that’s a form of password protection, isn’t it?
It all started with PIN numbers – remember when you first were asked to come up with a PIN number? I thought that was so cool – something only I would know and only I would be able to access. Then all heck broke loose. I couldn’t remember all the PIN numbers so at work I wrote them all down on a slip of paper and kept them under my keyboard. Everyone did it. Not very safe. But practical as far as I was concerned. Those days are over. My keyboard became too small a place to keep all those little slips of paper. Not to mention the massive stroke the IT guys had when they found out.
I graduated from my keyboard to keeping passwords and PINs on my personal calendar. But I needed to find a way to encrypt them in case some stranger should stumble upon my daytimer. So I made up extra letters and numbers to go with the original letters and numbers. Then I had to figure out how to remember which letters and numbers were the PIN numbers and which letters and numbers were the made-up numbers. It gave me such a headache.
I was very happy to discover that when you forget your password you can send an email requesting password help, and an email will arrive with your password. Wow – I’d never have to remember a password again. I’d just email the store or the bank, or whomever I was trying to do business with, and I’d always have access to my password. What a lot of extra work that became. There had to be a better solution.
One of the computer magazines I read ran an article that discussed password protection. They suggested a piece of software that was readily available called KeepPass — it’s a password database for your PC. Wow – what a super idea. I quickly downloaded the software and knew all my password problems were behind me. I opened it up and was ready to list all my passwords when it asked for a master key for the database. A master key is a password; you can’t fool me. I have to come up with a password for the software before I can store any of my passwords. I now need a password for my passwords. Where the heck am I going to I hide that? I give up - it’s going on a sticky note on my laptop. Maybe I’ll add some extra letters and numbers to the password…