Saturday, April 10, 2021

Passwords

Ever since we bought our first Gateway computer in 1998, I have fought with passwords; they have been the bane of my existence.  How on earth, I thought, is someone supposed to keep track of all those passwords on all those websites?  I'd keep a notebook beside the computer and write them all down.  Then I'd lose the notebook, or a page from a notebook, and have to make a new password to write down.  Although I knew you are supposed to use a different password for every site, but I ignored that advice and used something I might remember on several websites; that way I could remember it without having to look it up.

If only I had used Google twenty-five years ago and searched something like, "I keep losing my passwords".  About six months ago, I learned that all my passwords were stored within the browser of my computer.  I imagine most of you have known this for years, but not this dummy!  I don't even know how I found this out, but somehow I stumbled onto it and wondered why I didn't at least ask someone knowledgeable.

Well, there is a simple answer:  I was embarrassed by my ignorance.  My "someone knowledgeable" would be my daughter, Rachel.  In the beginning I was asking her questions all the time, and she'd show me what to do.  But she has a busy life and a job that includes working on a computer all day, and I felt bad using up her spare time so often.  I decided to live in ignorance and hope my computer didn't explode.  She had never complained, at least to me.  I just felt bad about bothering her when she worked so hard.

Fast-forward twenty-three years.  However it happened, I found out if I clicked on the word "Chrome" at the top of my Chrome browser, then clicked on "preferences", I only had to type in my computer password and it showed me all my passwords, even on sites I hadn't used in years.  What a life-changer!  I still had an occasional problem, though.  

I use two different browsers:  Chrome used to be my browser of choice, but after I went to the dark side (Apple) I decided to use Safari, the browser that comes with a Mac.  However, there seemed to be some things that just worked better on Chrome, so I installed it too, and now I switch back and forth a lot.  Here's another thing I recently figured out:  If you change a password on Safari, that does not change the same password on Google Chrome.  You have to go find your password on Safari and copy-and-paste it to Chrome preferences.  I figured that out all by myself, and felt like I had discovered gold.

You see, when I learned that my browser saves the passwords for me, I began using the "safe" passwords that are a mile long with letters, numbers, one capital letter, etc., so I'm less likely to have my computer hacked.  I don't have to type them out and save them on paper.  

If you are wondering why I use two browsers, it's mainly because of blogs... the ones I read and also my own blog.  Google owns the Chrome Browser; Blogger is also a Google product.  Chrome has many features on blogs that don't even show up on Safari.  If I'm reading other people's blogs, half the time I can't comment unless I'm on Chrome; I can't tell you how often I type in a two-paragraph comment when I'm using Safari, try to post it, and it won't post.  On Chrome, that has never happened.  Live and learn.

On the bright side, I'll be seventy-seven years old in July, and I'm still learning new things.

8 comments:

  1. My computer always asks me if I want to save my computer information and I've always said "no". I've heard that hackers can access all those passwords and thus get into everything you've got that's password protected. Now I'm in a real pickle, aren't I?!! *haha* ~Andrea xoxo

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    1. Meant to say.... "My computer always asks me if I want to save my computer passwords..."

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    2. I know for sure that if they were to come inside your house and figure out your computer password (mine is only 4 digits), they sure could. But if we are going anywhere overnight, I usually take my computer with me. And yes again, a good hacker in India could surely hack your computer, password or no password. This week Facebook and some other sites had ALL their accounts hacked and put online for others. They suggest everybody change their passwords. Whew! If they can do that, they can do anything they want with little old me. Another of those risks that I decided to live with.

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  2. I went to the next step many years ago and now use a password manager. It encrypts my passwords so that they aren't stored in legible form like Chrome or Safari does so even if things get hacked, it is impossible to use unless they know the main password. Another advantage, is that since it is web based, I can access those passwords from any computer, phone or tablet device, not that I recommend one do so in case data loggers have been installed. But it comes in handy if all I have is my smart phone and need to get into a password secured website. Probably the biggest advantage for me is that I never need to know but the main password. I type that when I log in first thing and the password manager takes over at that point and enters all the passwords automatically as I click to the site. It will also automatically let me change to a new password at the click of a button which is really handy if a place I frequent gets hacked.

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  3. I am old school and have a gray book of user names and passwords--like an address book except for websites. If I'm away from my house, it can be tricky but most of the time I'm at home on my laptop and not on my cell phone. I tried a password manager and it didn't work for me. (not the way it was supposed to anyway)

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  4. I type all my passwords and print them off on an index card and then don't save them on my hard drive. To me, that's safer and easier.I will be 86 in December.

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  5. Well you just taught me something. I have Apple products and I do know about the password thing. What I did not know is that some comments are lost if you use Safari. I don’t have a blog but I read a lot of them. Occasionally I comment, though not often. I quit following a couple of blogs because my comments would not appear. I assumed the blog owner just didn’t like or want my comments and deleted them. Maybe not......

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