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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book of Secrets

I have a book of secrets. I have to. There is no other way to contain all the classified information I must remember day after day.

I'm talking about passwords.

If someone had told me fifteen years ago that I would have to store so much sensitive information I would've never believed them. I kid you not, I have an actual full sized notebook where I store passwords for everything from bank accounts to writing groups.

Nearly every group I belong to requires a password. At work it's even worse. There are passwords on top of passwords, on top of pass phrases. I have access to a lot of confidential material and my company is very diligent about keeping it safe.

But I can't remember it all. Many of the sites I access require very elaborate alphanumeric sequences. My monkey brain isn't wired for that many complicated strings of text.

There are programs that allow you to create one master password. Good for home use. But I'm not so sure I'd use it on the off chance that if someone found that one password they'd then have access to everything I own.

So last year I bought a very sturdy notebook with UN-perforated pages so nothing can be torn out without me knowing it. In it, I catalog passwords, pass phrases, and procedural steps for accessing my more complicated sites.

It's been the most useful tool I've ever owned. Not only does it keep me current, but I can track all my groups, banks, services, mail lists, and default information for my computer.

The only data I'm lacking are the installation codes for all my software. Something I really need to compile.

I learned all this the hard way when I had to wipe my hard drive and start from scratch last year. It took weeks to gather all this information and I vowed to keep it in one location thereafter. That was how the Book of Secrets was born.

It's a good thing.


Carol Burge said...

OMG, I can sooo relate! I keep all my passwords, etc, in an index file, and file all my passwords & website info alpahbetically on index cards. I even have colored ones for color coding. :)

I learned the hard way, too, but thank God at the time I didn't have half as many passwords, etc as I have now.

Maria Zannini said...

It's irritating to go through so much trouble, but spammers and other larcenous types have gotten so high tech, it's forced the rest of the world to hide behind a screen of passwords. What choice do we have but to build a better mousetrap?