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Sharing some tips for dealing with passwords

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 9/7/21

Everyone loves passwords — said no one! Actually, it’s one of the biggest pains with computers, phones and other tech gadgets.

Maybe in the future, biometrics like fingerprints will replace most of our passwords, but for now there’s a password required for just about each device, website and service you use. So here I share some tips that can help:

Keep contact and recovery info up-to-date: It’s important to keep your online accounts updated with your current contact and recovery info. That way if you ever forget a password, you can easily reset it. Since most websites email or text you in order to reset a password, you must have access to the email or phone number that the website has on file. So, if you get a new email address or phone number, try to remember to login to your online accounts and update them. If you got a new email or phone number in the past and never updated them, take some time and do that now.

Updating your contact is one of those things most people don’t remember to do or just ignore it. But it’s also one of those proactive tasks that can really save you a headache in the future if you ever need to reset your password.

Safely save your passwords: Most web browsers allow you to save your passwords. After you log in to a website, you might be asked if you want to save the password.

If you save it, then in the future the username and password should be prefilled and you just hit sign in or the enter key. If you ever want to see the actual password that’s saved, some sites have a show button to reveal it. Otherwise, browsers like Chrome and Firefox allow you to bring up a list of all the passwords you’ve saved.

There are some security risks in saving your passwords on the computer, but I believe this is OK for most websites. I do not suggest saving passwords for very sensitive websites though, like your bank or other financial websites. I strongly suggest getting yearly checkups by a computer tech, though, to ensure your computer is secure with good antivirus and other security practices.

If you use a web browser like Chrome or Firefox, you can also sign in to the browser to enable syncing of your passwords among multiple computers or mobile devices. That way you have all your same passwords on all devices. Again, there are security risks here, but I believe they are acceptable as most browsers require two-factor authentication before a new device can be synced with all your passwords.

Write down your passwords: If you don’t have a good password list saved by your web browser, it’s a good idea to write down all your passwords in single spot, like a notepad or address book. I suggest trying to put them in alphabetical order by the website or company name.

Remember, if you ever reset or change your passwords, update the written list! There are some security risks in keeping a written list of your passwords, so I would store it in a relatively safe spot and not out in the open for visitors to freely see.

Reset your passwords: if you forget them If you have forgotten a password, first check any place you write down passwords.

If that doesn’t help, maybe try a few guesses at the password. But keep in mind some websites will temporarily block you for some time after so many wrong guesses. Remember, passwords are case sensitive, so get the upper or lower case correctly.

Next, I suggest resetting the password. Most websites have a forgot password option on the log-in screen.

Those typically email you a message with a link where you can set a new password, or some text your cellphone a code that you enter onto the reset page.

If you do reset the password, right away ensure you save it in your web browser or write it down if you keep a written password list. Otherwise, you might have to reset it again in the future!

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