7 On Your Side
Online tools help people manage numerous passwords
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- These days, people are doing more business and socializing online. That means creating so many usernames and passwords. It's hard to remember them all, but 7 On Your Side has a possible solution.
Researchers say most of us use the same password for everything and we use common ones, like "welcome" or "password" that's not very secure. But how are you supposed to remember all those combinations of letters and numbers? Well now there's a way to use hundreds of passwords without having to remember a single one.
The last time we saw Eva Alkana, she'd just fallen for an Internet phishing scam. Someone pretending to be from Norton Internet Security actually took over her computer.
"She said, 'Oh, good, give me your credit card number,' and I did," she said.
The scammers also got her username and password. Experts say that could do more damage than anything.
"They get the list of usernames and passwords and then they go and start trying those on Bank of America, on Gmail," Electronic Frontier Foundation spokesperson Seth Schoen said.
Schoen studies Internet scams. He says predators who get your username and password from one site will try the same log-in to break into all your other accounts.
"This happens every day because people are re-using account names and passwords from one site to another," Schoen said.
The way to foil the con artists? Use a completely different password for every single account -- no matter how small.
"And so people say, 'Well, I couldn't possibly remember a different password for every site,'" Schoen said.
It's no easy trick. Schoen points out most consumers have dozens of Internet accounts -- everything from email to Facebook, Twitter, shopping and bill pay. Schoen has 200 online accounts.
"People say, 'I use 100 different websites, how can I remember 100 different passwords?' And I say the modern answer to this is to use the thing called password safe," Schoen said.
Schoen says there is a solution. Virtual "lockboxes" for your passwords. He uses a free download called KeePass. It remembers all your passwords for you.
Schoen shows us how it works. He enters his Facebook account into KeePass and then types a string of gibberish for a password. Schoen doesn't even know what the password is. He simply copies and pastes it to log in. All he needs to remember is one master password which he creates to access his lockbox. He says that word should be impossible to guess.
"One very secure password that you've really got to make un-guessable and you've really got to remember it," Shoen said.
He recommends stringing together four or five unrelated words.
To ensure security, no one can re-set the master password. So if you forget it, you lose access to all your accounts.
Shoen says consumers like Eva Alkana should change all their passwords. She did that right away, but still worries about predators.
internet, 7 on your side, michael finney
- 1 dead, 2 injured in Redwood City boating accident 16 min ago
- Mother, child killed in San Francisco fire
- San Francisco officials plan to crack down on "420"
- SF Chinese community faces fallout from Yee arrest
- BART unveils new train car design in SF
- Sandoval's single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1
- Man accused of killing Sierra LaMar appears in court
- VIDEO: Man kicked in head taking selfie in...
- Oakland A's ready to sign lease at O.co Coliseum
- Crawford's 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets
- Photos: The 10 worst jobs for 2014 35 min ago
- San Jose Sharks holding rally to kick off playoff run 39 min ago
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Thursday
- roundup: Fatal house fire in SF; Oakland shooting
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos