Best way to keep passwords organized: Store passwords safely

Should I use a password manager? If you find yourself asking yourself this question, I have good news for you. Because you've made a step in the right direction. And you're finally looking to implement the password storage best practices. Also, you may have realized it's complicated to keep track of passwords and to keep your password safe. But luckily for you, I've decided to focus on the best way to keep passwords organized in this article. So let's see how to manage passwords.

The best way to manage passwords

I realized I've given you the best way to keep passwords organized. But I haven't told you, dear reader of TheBestVPN.UK, how to keep track of passwords safely. Because using only one password for all your accounts is definitely the worst idea in the history of ideas, maybe ever. Combine this with using the same email address and you have the perfect setup to live a digital nightmare. Or the best opportunity for someone to create trouble and make some easy money, depending on point of view…

using one password is bad

So what are the risks of using only one password for everything? There are so many that I don't know where to start. But if I have to mention one that will cover them all, it's this one: Identity theft. Indeed, when hackers get your email address and password, they can log in EVERYWHERE. So imagine people getting access to your:

  • Email account, where they could
    • Find your personal details for all the websites you've registered to
    • Steal your sensitive data
    • Change your password and ask for a ransom to get it back
    • Delete your messages
    • Impersonate you to scam your contacts
    • etc.
  • Social media accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Online crypto-wallets, if you bought bitcoin for example
  • etc.

These are just a sample of what I could think of. And you can imagine many more I guess. But I'm sure we're on the same page now. You'd be naked and exposed, without much leverage to fix things easily.

And don't think it's hard to get your email address and password. Because your email address is public and certainly displayed somewhere. Also, your password may have been compromised during a data breach. Click here to check if that's the case. And fill in your email address then click on pwned?

So now let's see the best way to manage passwords.

Generate strong passwords

Before finding out the best way to keep passwords organized, you need to learn about password generation. First of all, you need to generate strong and hard to guess passwords – don't worry, I'll tell you how to remember passwords later.

There's a guy who created guidelines to create secure passwords, back in 2003. While I'm sure you've never heard of Bill Blurr, you must have encountered his set of rules when filling in a password online. And I'm almost also pretty sure you've hated the man. Because it was so hard to create a password the system would accept. You would have to fulfill all the conditions:

  • Have over X number of characters
  • Include:
    • Lowercase letters
    • Uppercase letters
    • Numbers
    • Special characters

Finally, when you were done, the system would tell you'd have to change it after a certain amount of time or connections… Oh boy!

Pro tip from Al

While it could be easier for you to remember, it's not secure to use similar passwords over different accounts. Because creating a pattern passwords weaken the system.

Fortunately, this vision of password generation is slowly coming to an end. And the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where Mr. Blurr was working, revised the guidelines. Their latest findings is that you need a long password, but that can be easy to remember. And they recommend using four random common words, like vpnsecurityprivacyprotection. It's easier to remember for humans. And the longer it is, the harder it is to guess for computers.

While you can spend time creating password, you can also ask a software or a device to automatically generate one.

How to store passwords safely?

Now that you have a dozen or more of strong passwords, what's the best place to store passwords? And the best way to keep passwords organized? Maybe you're a kind of Rain Man and you've got them all in your head. Good for you. But for us who aren't gifted with a premium memory, it won't do. And the critical question is: How to remember your password? Let's now see where to keep passwords? And how to keep passwords safe?

Write them down

Wait, what? Is it a website about primitive technologies or high technologies? I know it's a bit old school. But it's definitely a possibility! And it could be the best way to keep passwords organized… Who knows? Some experts recommend this solution for your private keys when you're storing cryptocurrency.

While it obviously won't work with hundreds of passwords, you can envisage to use this method if you have less than ten. And if you’re determined to use the paper form, make sure you follow these three guidelines:

  • Use a safe. And avoid sticky notes anywhere near your work area! Because they're visible and could fly away…
  • Don't keep login credentials (email/username and password) in the same place. But store emails and usernames in one sport. And passwords in another.
  • If possible, don't write the credential themselves. But use hints that will help you to remember what the codes are, without actually displaying them anywhere.
protect your password

Now that's what I'm talking about!


PROS
  • Cold storage – impossible to hack
  • Hard to find and steal

CONS
  • Not convenient for any device
  • Need to change all your passwords if you lose the paper
  • Risk of exposing sensitive information to people around you

Keep track of passwords in Excel

Second solution is to use a spreadsheet to store your credentials. Or even a word processor (but I think it's less convenient). And I'm sure most of you have this kind of software on your computer already, either with Microsoft Office or their competitors. So there's no additional costs involved. And this may be the best way to keep passwords organized for you.

To use Excel as a password keeper, you have 2 solutions:

  • Download a template file from the web
  • Create your own file

It doesn't really matter which one you choose. You can save some time by using a template or you can customize your file the way you want. But what you must do is secure this file, by putting a password (another one). Because how useful would a password file be if it anyone could find it and open it, right?

Also, you may want to store your new password log in the cloud (Dropbox, Drive etc.). While that is convenient to access the file from different devices, it's a bit risky. Maybe you should think about additional encryption before uploading it.

Finally, don't name your file with an obvious title like: passwords or password-keeper… Because otherwise hackers won't even have to wonder where to look at.

excel password manager

Just an example of Excel file


PROS
  • Convenient to copy/paste credentials on websites
  • Hard to find and break Excel password protection

CONS
  • Not convenient for mobile devices
  • Risk of exposing sensitive information to people around you
  • Password may still be in the clipboard after use, so retrievable if device hacked

Save passwords in your browser

These days, most browsers offer this feature: When you sign in to a website, you have a notification asking if you want to save your credentials in your browser. If you click yes, your credentials will be stored in the browser. And they'll be password protected (by the system password).

Another option is to install a plugin or an extension to add this functionality to your browser. And it will work exactly the same. But the advantage of the browser password management tool is that it can be synced in the cloud. So if you use the same browser on all your devices, you'll be able to get your passwords on all of them.

If you plan to use your browser’s integrated password keeper, make sure your device is password protected. Because otherwise, anyone using your device will be able to sign in with your credentials on the websites …

While it looks like the best way to keep passwords organized, it's not the safest way to store passwords. Indeed, those password managers can be exploited with certain scripts, as a way to track your activity from site to site… And I value privacy too much to really recommend using this solution.

chrome password manager

Chrome password manager


PROS
  • Convenient, no need to copy/paste credentials on websites
  • Comfortable, works with all devices where the browser is installed
  • Hard to break the system password protection

CONS
  • Risk of online tracking
  • Risk of people being able to connect when using your device
  • Doesn't work with other software installed on your device (only for web-based services)

Use a password management software

If you really want to take passport protection seriously, you need to learn how to securely store passwords with specialized software. Some companies have developed apps to help you manage your passwords. While some of them are free, I'd recommend to check reviews before selecting a free password manager. Because if you're not paying for it, you're the product!

Here's a list of some of the best software I found:

Most of them offer password generation, password auto-fill and sync with your other devices. And some even have more advanced feature to share login credentials safely with other people for example. Or even a method to transfer your logins to a trusted person in the event of your death or incapacity! Because these are cases we should be prepared for…

Finally, with this solution, you can manage non web-related passwords as well. So you can have all your passwords in the same app. Therefore it's almost the best way to keep passwords organized. But there's even better than that. Keep reading!


PROS
  • Convenient, no need to copy/paste credentials on websites
  • Comfortable, works with all devices
  • Hard to break the software password protection

CONS
  • Risk of people being able to connect when using your device

Enable multi-factor authentication

Despite your best efforts, your login credentials may end up online. And the last resort to avoid hackers can log in to your accounts is to enable Two-factor authentication: 2FA. So what is this 2FA thing? It's a method of confirming a user's identity where a user needs to present 2 pieces of evidence (or factors) to be granted access. And the pieces can be something the user:

  • Knows (username, password)
  • Possesses (security token)
  • Is (fingerprint, face recognition)

Nowadays, most web services offer two-factor authentication. And when enabled, you'll need to use your login credentials and a one-time password (OTP) to log in. You can get this OTP either via an SMS on your phone, or with an app, like Google Authenticator. And this is my preferred method. Because it works at all times, even when your phone isn't connected to the network.

Basically, you synchronize the app with the website. And the app generates a 6 digit number dynamically, which expires after a few seconds. Then, you need to enter that code on the website before it expires to get access. Nobody can log in without the correct OTP, even if the person has successfully stolen your login credentials.

Conclusion

In today's ultra-connected world, you must learn how to keep your password safe. Because the longer time you spend online, registering to new websites, the higher is the risk your password will leak. And if you only use one password, the hacker could access all your accounts. Just imagine how miserable your life could become!

As a result, you need to find the best way to keep passwords organized. And to make sure your password are protected and easy to access. While several solutions are available, like the easiest Password Boss, they aren't all secure and convenient on a daily basis. Sure you could keep them all on a piece of paper. But how easy is it to type in password from a paper sheet? Therefore you need to use the technologies available on the market today. That's the best way to keep track of passwords and to be able to use them when necessary.

Should you need a password saver software, you can find many free or paid solutions online. However, I'd recommend to take a look at the latest wireless security devices, which prove as secure and much more convenient. And it's without doubt the best way to save passwords and to recall them at will.

Finally, now you know how to keep track of passwords. And you have no more excuse to keep your eyes closed to what's best for you. So do yourself a favour and use a secure password manager from now on!

This was my guide: Best way to keep passwords organized: How to store passwords safely? Stay tuned for more articles coming soon.

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