FAQ
 
Q: Who should use this product?
A: The Internet Password Organizer is the ideal companion product for anyone who uses the internet. As many sites require that users create a username/password pair, and it is generally recommended that users use unique passwords for each site they subscribe too, the number of passwords the average person owns grows to unwieldy amounts over time. The Internet Password Organizer allows you to create complex passwords (which results in increased online security) by providing you with a place to store and quickly retrieve that information as needed.
Q: Is it safe to write my passwords down on paper?
A: When it comes to password security there are several methods available for you to choose from. Each method has its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and risks associated with it. The best you can do is educate yourself on the various methods available and decide for yourself which one (or combination thereof) best meet your needs and provides you with the most level of comfort and convenience. Here is a short list of some of the tools available:

Internet Password Organizer This book-based solution allows you to create unique/complicated passwords that you otherwise would not be able to remember thus improving your overall online security. Since most people write their passwords down in a notebook already, this method is familiar and practical; and because it features a tabbed interface (like an address book) locating a password is quick and painless. This method works equally well as a primary or backup password storage solution.

Pros Cons
  • Passwords cannot be hacked remotely through an internet connected computer.
  • Convenient tabbed interface grants you quick access to your login information
  • Discrete "notebook" design conceals your information in plain site.
  • Passwords not lost if you suffer a hard disk failure.
  • Hardware/Software agnostic
  • Can be lost or stolen compromising all your passwords.
  • Information not remotely accessible
Software Application There are several if not hundreds of Software solutions available. These solutions typically take the form of a client program that you install on your machine. As a result not all programs are available for every platform (PC/Mac/Linux/etc.) unless they have been ported or written in an interpreted language such as Java. Because they run locally on your computer you will have to install a copy on each computer that you would like to access your password database and then make sure that the information between the computers is properly synchronized so that when you add a password to one database, the other gets the change. Passwords are typically stored using complex encryption algorithms so that in the event that your computer is lost or stolen, or the database is copied by an unauthorized party, the data is inaccessible by simply reading the file. Access to your password list is only accomplished by entering in the "master password". Of course, since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, if someone obtains the master password, all your passwords are compromised. Think of it like a bank safe with 50 foot titanium walls and a door that can be opened with a key. Lose the key and it doesn't matter how thick those walls are.

Pros Cons
  • Passwords are secured using some of the strongest encryption algorithms on the planet.
  • Some programs integrate well with browsers allowing you to auto-login to web-sites.
  • Despite the strong encryption algorithms employed by many of these tools, a single password is used to block entry. Once that is compromised, all your passwords are free for the taking.
  • Passwords database can be hacked remotely if your computer is connected to the internet.
  • Entire password collection can be lost if you suffer a hard disk failure.
Web-based password manager The web-based password manager is similar to the Software Application described above with the added convenience of allowing you to access your passwords from any computer with an internet connection. Since it is web-based typically no special client software is required to run it (although some may require a particular virtual machine). Passwords are stored on a server, instead of a local machine, which is what allows you to access your passwords remotely. Like the Software Application, a single password grants an all access pass to the rest of them; and a certain level of trust must be extended on your part if you are going to allow a third party to hold your passwords for you.

Pros Cons
  • Passwords are secured using some of the strongest encryption algorithms on the planet.
  • Some programs integrate well with browsers allowing you to auto-login to web-sites.
  • Passwords can be accessed via any internet connected computer
  • Operating system and software agnostic.
  • Despite the strong encryption algorithms employed by many of these tools, a single password is used to block entry. Once that is compromised, all your passwords are free for the taking.
  • Passwords can be hacked remotely.
  • Entire password collection can be lost if the server you choose goes down/crashes or goes out of business.
  • You must "trust" the server that you store your passwords on since you are in essence handing over that information to them.
Browser-based solution Many browsers will remember your usernames and passwords for you and seamlessly log you in to web sites you visit often. As with all these software solutions the level of encryption will vary, and since you are ultimately storing the information on your computer it can be remotely hacked thus compromising all your passwords. Also, if you enable the auto-login feature, anyone who has access to your computer can automatically gain access to your sites without knowing either the site-specific or master password.

Pros Cons
  • Passwords are secured using strong encryption algorithms.
  • Convenient auto-login features allow you to access web-sites easily without having to lookup your login credentials.
  • Operating system and software agnostic.
  • Despite the strong encryption algorithms employed, a single password is used to block entry. Once that is compromised, all your passwords are free for the taking.
  • Passwords can be hacked remotely.
  • Entire password collection can be lost in the event of a hard drive disk failure or computer related crash.
  • If not configured properly, anyone can gain access to your password protected sites if they have access to your computer.

 

Email folder/text file/excel file/word file/etc. Many people store their passwords in an email folder entitled "passwords" or some variation thereof. Others have a Word Document, Excel spreadsheet, or flat text file in which they list their username/password pairs. Passwords are stored in plain text. Clearly this is one of the most commonly employed methods used by computer users. It's practical, easy to manage, and accessible to computer users of all levels.

Pros Cons
  • Convenient, easy to setup, free.
  • Password files can be hacked remotely if your computer is connected to the internet.
  • If computer is lost or stolen password file can be easily compromised.
  • Entire password collection can be lost if you suffer a hard disk failure.

 

Q: What types of passwords should I store in this book?
A: It is recommended that only non-critical passwords be stored in your Internet Password Organizer. Do not store passwords to any financial institutions, stock trading sites, medical sites, or any other site that you would not want to fall into the wrong hands. In the end you must use your own discretion as to what data can safely be stored in your Internet Password Organizerand take precautions to safeguard that information.
Q: Where should I store my Internet Password Organizer?
A: You should secure it in a place that best protects the information your passwords protect. For some people a locked cabinet or safe is appropriate, for others, the top drawer of their desk is fine. Consider your environment, the people around you, and the sites you are protecting when making this decision.
Q: Should I travel with my Internet Password Organizer?
A: For safety and security reasons it is recommended that you keep your Internet Password Organizer in a secure location. Carrying it around lends itself to the possibility of leaving it in a Taxi cab, airport, restaurant, or other undesirable location. It also opens up the possibility for others to access it and copy its contents.
Q: Should I write my passwords down in pen or pencil?
A: In order to extend the useful life of your Internet Password Organizer it is recommended that information be recorded in pencil. This will allow you to change, erase, and update your passwords in a more aesthetically pleasing way.
Q: How do I create a secure password?

A: Microsoft has provided a nice document that provides great guidelines in this regard:

For those who like statistical data:

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