Passwords, passwords, passwords

I read Dogmeat’s post below. Timely, since I’m playing around with Keychain.

I thought I was pretty slick when it came to passwords, but the more I read, the more I realize… not so much. While I use longer passwords that include numbers and characters, nothing involving maiden names, cities, or places of my pets’ births, I can be a creature of habit. I have a pool of passwords with slight additions/mods for most sites, with high risk sites getting their own unique password.

I see people aren’t exactly keychain fans overall when dealing with company info. But how about the average smoe? Now. here’s the rub: my MacBook Pro is the only mac in the house.

I could:

  1. Use keychain and beef up our passwords, but write down these on paper stored in our safe for when we use the PC (which is where the bills are usually paid).

  2. Buy something else to use just for the PC.

  3. Buy another keychain app for the Mac & Quicken for Mac (hey, it’s how we pay the bills), and ONLY use the Mac to do Quicken and pay the bills. Still doesn’t solve the entire PC solution for when I’m writing and would rather gnaw off hubby’s arm before surrendering the Mac, and unless Bill Gates decides to feel sorry for me, I doubt Bill will be forking over money to switch our the remaining PCs to Macs. I mean, what the hell do people do when they’ve got multiple machines, right?

  4. Fuhgeddaboutit. I’m probably cool with the method I’ve got, especially if we’re safer 'puter people.

Here is what I have adopted, but then I am a bit… different.

I have a matrix of 16x16 created using pwgen printed and sitting near each system (or as a pdf on the machine). Then based on a few keys I leave in the user name I can reassemble my PW. I will not provide my exact method, but one that I suggest is using the first letter of your username as the column, the first number for the row, then moving diagonally from there. This assumes that you choose unique usernames.

The nice thing about this method is that it is 100% recoverable no matter what system you use. I started this when I lost the data on a 20MB removable HD (I loved the hard platter IOMega) that had my pw list on it. It has worked pretty good for me so far.

I love and use 1Password. Alas, it’s Mac only, so I don’t know that it solves your problem. I can’t recommend RoboForm personally, as I haven’t used it, but it is a password program for Windows.

You could also try SplashID. Works with Mac, Windows, Palm, iPhone & who knows what else. Has the ability to sync between different platforms (at least between mobile & desktop). I used it on my Palm for years and now my iPhone. Both synced to my Mac. I store client info as well as personal info (tax file number, credit card, bank account etc) in it. It also offers a password generator with indicator of strength.

Only qualm is that it is not the most elegant pieces of software (what multi-platform software is?) but it works well.