Guest blogger Liz Hamburg is founder of Candoo Tech, a terrific new tech support service designed specifically for the needs of seniors. Here she tackles a topic all of us can relate to: keeping track of our online passwords!
By Liz Hamburg of Candoo Tech
Password is incorrect. Please re-enter with the correct password. Incorrect Password. For your safety this account has been locked. Too many attempts made, proceed to account recovery.
Do these messages look familiar? Have you ever forgotten one of your own passwords—even one you use every day? How many times this year have you had to reset a password? If you are like me, you may have also gotten a call from your parent asking if you remember their password. There are only so many places to write them down safely!
Today, almost everything requires a login—from accessing bank accounts, emails and social media sites, to ordering from Amazon, reading news articles and even watching Netflix or other videos online. To complicate matters even more, not all sites have the same password requirements. Some require special characters while others insist on a specific number and combination of words, numbers and special characters. Managing the myriad of passwords can become overwhelming, and sooner or later, if you are like me, you are scrambling to find where you wrote the password down, attempting multiple times to guess the password you used or, even more embarrassing, calling your spouse or your kids to remind you. And, eventually, resetting your password. The odds just seem to be against you!
Password dos and don’ts
There are things you can do. But first, let’s start off with what you should not do:
- You should NOT be writing your password on a piece of paper with all your other passwords.
- You should NOT use the same password for all of your accounts.
- You should NOT email your passwords to a friend or family member.
- You should NOT use your date of birth or the name of your favorite grandchild or pet.
But, don’t worry. There’s a good, safe solution. What CAN you do?
Always try to make difficult-to-guess and unique passwords so in case one of your passwords is breached, you don’t need to worry about all of your other accounts. Now, you may be telling yourself, “I can barely manage to remember ONE of my passwords. How do you expect me to remember so many other unique ones?” There’s an easy solution: Password Managers.
Benefits of a good password manager
A password manager is an application/service that you can download onto your computer or portable devices (phones, tablets, etc.) that is secured by a single password that then unlocks your vault to all your other passwords. It’s like having that page of handwritten passwords you already have in your file cabinet or in your Notes app on your phone (don’t worry, we won’t tell), but only invisible and protected from the password thieves.
You may be thinking this one important password could be stolen. But most password managers use multi-factor authentication and encryption (fancy talk for extra level of safety and protection). So, while nothing is risk-free, password managers are generally safer than keeping your passwords stored on your own.
With a password manager, even if someone were to somehow gain access to the password manager application, they will not be able to see any of your passwords as the program itself is also password protected.
Some nice benefits of good password managers are:
- You don’t have to remember all of your passwords.
- It’s much more secure (and handier) than keeping passwords written on scraps of paper or on your computer.
- On some, you can give the master password to a trusted loved one (family member, lawyer), so that if they ever need to access your critical accounts, they have a way in.
- They can detect when you create or change one of your passwords—no more stress of having to remember to update your list of passwords.
- You can have your password manager on all your devices, so even if you are on the go, you will have access to all your passwords. Consider it like your personal password assistant.
Learn more and contact us
There are lots of options. Some are free, some are paid. Generally, the paid services are between $20-$40/year per person. The two password managers that we currently recommend are Dashlane and 1Password. Each has its pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research.
Candoo Tech provides in-home and remote tech support and training specifically designed for older adults. Candoo fixes what’s not working, installs new devices and teaches you how to use your technology—from phones, iPads and tablets, Alexa and computers to innovative home sensors and fall detection devices.