What’s the Password?

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…

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