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What’s the best way to deal with the username and password avalanche?

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Question: “Between all my different computer applications at work and at home, I’m absolutely drowning in usernames and passwords—many of which require updating every couple of months. Has anyone finally thought of an easy, secure way to wrangle all of these things?”   – Eve, Customer Service Associate

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

BF July 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

We just had a training about passwords because of all of the internet fraud going on in the world. We had a person from the FBI come and talk and he gave us a few great tips. One of the tips suggested is one that is above that someone else mentioned, by using a phrase, and changing a few of the characters to make it numeric and alpha. Another tip he suggested is if you are using a site for a specific thing, say like your bank account and it allows for special characters, he suggested something like this @USB (at U.S. Bank) to start off your password, then something that you use regularly with numeric and alpha. So then you only have to remember the @… part and you can use the same password you always use for everything else. The other part is to make it at least 12 to 15 characters long. These internet theives can figure out the short ones within seconds, but the longer the better as it will take them literally years to figure them out when they are longer.


g July 10, 2012 at 8:24 am

I try to use the same ones for everything. Granted some times they are taken so I really only have about 3 different ones the hard part is remembering the passwords if they requrie a # or Capital Letter. I use to do a spreadsheet for my ones at home, have updated it in a while. Work isn’t hard because it’s normally our initals. Good Luck!


Jackie Harp July 6, 2012 at 8:02 am

I use OneNote and password protect that section so I only have to remember that one and that password is different from the ones I use online. You can either make a separate page for each website or use one page with a long list.


JoAnn Paules July 6, 2012 at 6:34 am

I use a variation of what the others use. I have an Excel spreadsheet that doesn’t list my passwords but does give me a hint. Passwords that must be changed are marked so that when I change my network log-in (every 90 days), I also go in and change the others. It may take me 20 minutes total on Password Changing Day but it keeps everything synchronized.


Pat McGee July 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I use a small program called Roboform. It stores all of my user names and passwords along with the related link. Using Roboform I just click the entity that I need to log into and it takes me there fills in my user name and password and logs in. It will also generate new passwords as needed.

The program can be password protected so I only have to remember the password to login into my computer and the password for Roboform.


Chandra July 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I use a random phrase with an increase number for each time I am prompted to change it. Since I use a random phrase and not one I use, I pretty much use the same password for all sites. I also a different password for those sites that don’t have any personal information and use Chrome on all my computers to remember those passwords.


Ashley July 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I use a standard password and each time it prompts me to update I add a number at the end. For example; Roses1. Then in a month or so when I’m required to update the password I’ll change it to Roses2.


bb July 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I use Outlook to store a shortened version of my password to prompt me, but I also tend to use the same password for the sites that I visit (I know, I know – we’ve been warned against that – I take my chances). I also make sure that my passwords aren’t made up of real words. I use phrases and take the first letter of each word within that phrase to create a strong password. For example, I might use the phrase “I go to work every single day” and turn it into “Ig2we5d”. By mixing up capitals and lowercase letters, along with numbers, I create a password that is very difficult to guess. Since I started using this, I’ve not had a single problem with anyone accessing my accounts. Of course, I might have just jinxed myself! Hope that helps.


jish July 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

GREAT password technique! On my ‘recent’ layoff job, they PROVIDED us passwords with a mixture of alph/numeric/symbol – AND to remember mine, I made up a ‘statement’ just as you did. Truly it did not necessarily make sense, BUT I remembered it! I do the same for my MOST important sites, i.e., bank, school, amazon, etc. anything with my cc, personal info, etc. Your idea is a good practice.



Aimee F July 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I have a few strategies 1) I use a generic username and password for sites that require one, but don’t contain any personal information that really needs protecting, less I have to remember! 2) I reverse usernames and passwords between various sites (Soccer_Mom5678/Password@1234 to Password@1234/Soccer_Mom5678) 3) for those requiring updating every few months, I’ve taken to using a number at the end and increase it by one when it’s time to update! XXXXXX_20 becomes XXXXXX_21. This works for me, especially in terms of remembering my passwords and I’ve yet to have a problem with any of them.


Debra Cerda July 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I created an Excel spreadsheet that is double password protected. I have links to different websites in one column with a description, username in another column and password in another. I can go directly to that spreadsheet, click on the link to take me to the website I want to enter. I also setup my boss with the same system and it works well for us.


Patricia Freeman July 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Hello Debra,
Would you be willing to share a blank copy or template for your spreadsheet?

Thanks in advance,

Trish Freeman


Debbie August 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Hi Debra,

I too would appreciate a copy of your template. Sounds great!

Thanks so much,


Cathy July 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I created a contact in Microsoft Outlook called Passwords. I keep all of my logins and passwords listed in the notes of that contact. My computer locks after not being used for 10 minutes and a password is required get into my Outlook so I think it’s secure. I just have to remember to go update them when they change.


Becky July 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I use index cards in my rolodex as “prompts”. My passwords are a mix of 4 possiblilies with differing syntax. On my index card I will indicate the syntax. For example, if my password is 123main, my card will say 1_m_; if another password is Main123, my card will say M (underlined to indicate capitol)_1_. Similarly, mainstreet would read m_s_ and streetmain would read s_m_. Also, my passwords are not related to one another, for example I might use my mothers birthdate and my favorite restaurant as a password: 0626longhorn and variations of.


Rita Pope July 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I use the notes feature in my work Outlook account. I list each site (like Office Depot), the user name for that account and password. Since I order supplies from many different vendors, I try to use our street address (100smainst) along with a number that I change each time I need to reset the password (100smainst1, 100smainst2). Each time I visit that site, I call up my notes list, check out the user name and password, and change it if I have to. That way, the only one I really need to memorize is the one I use to log in to my computer each morning. At home I use the same method for saving my list, but I go for simple sentences as my passwords (ilikevanillaicecream, or iwishiwere livinginhawaii). Again, I add a number or special character (& * ! # ) and all I need to change is the special character.


Lori J July 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Try using the seasons and year – summer12 or Fall2012


Karen J July 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I use LastPass for all my team’s usernames and passwords. I also have a personal account with them for all my personal ones.


Jodie S July 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I organize my passwords. I use the same catch-phrase but I add to the end of it the source for the password (i.e., ilikeicecream123twitter or ilikeicecream123facebook)


Missy Brown July 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I currently use SplashID to store all of my user name and passwords for work and personal. The software is not free but with all of the different logins required these days, I have found it to be worth the money.


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