Sunday, January 24, 2016

Do most users really need password management systems?

Brian X. Chen, in his column “Tech Fix” for the New York Times today, writes “Apps to manage passwords, so they are harder to crack than ‘password’”.  That sounds pleonastic, like saying “every hour is magic hour.”

Chen raises the idea that its theoretically possible for the company hosting the hacking app to be hacked. I fear more that it would break down, and that I wouldn’t be able to get into anything.
So I have a practice of keeping printed or handwritten sheets of my passwords.  They have to be put away.   I take it with me on trips.  But of course, I can imagine security disadvantages to even this practice.

I have several cloud accounts, but don’t network the machines.  I carry usb backups to other machines and let Carbonite make multiple copies.  And I keep one copy in a safe deposit box.
Today, I got a badly formatted email from Akismet (spam protection for Wordpress) indicating that my credit card had expired.  But when I went to the site myself, I found it had billed successfully this morning (Jan. 24). I saw no usual signs of spam, so I’m still investigating.

One other tip on security for financial accounts:  simply check them often.  At least once a week.  Remember what you did.  Where this gets testy is if you travel off the grid, into remote areas or less secure areas overseas.

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