How and Where to Store Your Passwords Securely

March 9, 2009

in Internet,online computing,privacy & security

by Tina Gasperson

Even a fairly casual Internet user has a list of several different passwords for things such as email, banking, shopping, and discussion forums. Do you have trouble keeping track of your passwords? Or are you one of those who have decided to use the same password for all your accounts? It’s easy to see why someone would want to do that, but it’s a very insecure way to manage your Internet life. All a cracker has to do is figure out one password and they have access to all your memberships and accounts. It’s much better to make and maintain separate, hard-to-guess passwords for each and every online login you have.

But how do you keep track of all that? You could write them all down, but what if you lose the paper or someone else finds it? You can have your browser save your passwords and auto fill them, but if someone else gains access to your computer, you’re back to square one. The best way to keep your accounts and membership secure is to store your passwords in an encrypted file. Do a web search for “how to store passwords securely” and you’ll come up with quite a list of free and for pay programs to store and retrieve your passwords.

One simple way to store your passwords is to create an encrypted text file and save it on a memory stick. You could also use the Locknote utility I wrote about recently on With this handy application, you can type in your login information, save it with a password, and carry it around with you. Memorize this master password, but don’t forget it, ever, or you’ve lost your access to the rest of your passwords. Still, it’s easier to memorize one password than one for each one of your accounts.

If you want to go “old school” you could still just write down your login and password information and store it in a safe. And who knows, this method may actually be the most difficult for password crackers to break into.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.