Most Common Password Handling Alternatives
- Pen and Paper: can’t be reached on line, hackers or people across the world can’t access it, no matter what they do 🙂. If someone has access to it physically, they will have access to your information 😟, unless you encode it somehow 😐;
- Digital device that can’t go on line: an old personal organizer can be handy, it’s a bit safer, since it can have a master password 😊, but if it fails, you lose everything stored there 😭, unless you have backup 😅;
- Password Manager Software on a Device with Internet Access: If you use a password manager on a device with internet access 😟, but you don’t store the files in a cloud 🙂, you can have a security breach only if a hacker invades your equipment AND gets the master password somehow 🙂 (if you’re using password protection on your database, of course), or if someone has physical access to it and also the necessary passwords to operate on it 😠.
- Password Manager with Cloud Storage: if you use Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Internet Explorer or any other browser to store your passwords (and synchronize them), you will have all your “saved passwords” in their databases 😐. The information is usually encrypted, but sometimes THEY have security breaches 😲, therefore we have a fantastic convenience 😃, since you won’t have to type or memorize your on line passwords, but if they have a leak, “you’re pawned” 😭;
- Local Document with Your Passwords: having a text file or spreadsheet somewhere in your computer with your user names and passwords is something lots of people do 😲, and it’s only as safe as the safety of those files 😟. If someone has access to them and their protection is not enough to prevent the information to be read, you got yourself a leak 😭. Unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s a very bad alternative 😲;
- Mnemonic for password variations and memorization without annotation: if you can trust your memory this is the safest of all 😇, as long as the passwords are complex enough and the formula you use for the variations is not too simple or predictable. You can also have a few different passwords instead, and replace them every now and then with something new, maybe a couple of times per year…
There’s no 100% safe method, and I just gave some examples above, of course. You can mix and match them according to your needs and remember that the safety of any information is as good as its weakest link.