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Security Awareness Discussion of all things related to the security of Apple devices.

Help changing passwords

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Member Since: Jan 22, 2010
Location: Victoria, BC
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Mac Specs: Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB

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The thing I like about both 1Password (though its mighty pricey when not on sale) and iCloud Keychain (FREE!) is that they both can generate and manage "strong" passwords you'd never in a million years remember. But you don't have to -- all you need to know is the ONE access password to unlock their respective keychains, which is local and thus can be a lot more "memorable" (I like the "strange phrase" idea above for that!).
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Member Since: Aug 14, 2011
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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I'd suggest taking a look at LastPass (LP). It's free, but for a buck a month, you'll get higher priority when you ask for help. There are others, but it's the first one (recommended by How-to-Geek) that I tried and I like it. It, too, requires a master password (phrase) and without it, you're dead in the water -- even LP can't help you, so heed Rod Spragues's advice (above). I can't tell you everything about it here, but I'll note the highlights, in no particular order:

The most important thing that it does is it gets you out of using the same password for everything -- a dangerous habit, to say the least.

When you encounter a site that's not in LP's "vault" yet, it will help you set up the record. Piece of cake. If it's already in the vault, LP will fill in your username and password, and log you in (automatically, if that's what you specified).

For each site you visit that requires a sign-in with a password, LP will keep a record in its vault, identified by the site's URL. The record contains your name for the site, a folder name (more on that later), your sign-in username (not necessarily the same for all sites), a password which is SO gobbledegooky, it always gets a "superior" rating -- and it will generate it for you based on your specification of how long it should be, if symbols can be used, how many numerics, etc. There are other controls you can set, including the ability to automatically log you in when you encounter the site.

The folder I mentioned is LP's way of letting you classify your sites, if you're the least bit organized. I happen to place a lot of value on classification. Nothing is cast in concrete, and if something is in the wrong folder, just drag it to the right one. Some of the folder names I use are Entertainment, Financial, Forums, Hardware, Health, Mail, Medical, Social, etc.

If the site you're adding is already password protected, you can tell LP to use that password (and it will probably warn you that it's a duplicate password, but it will let you get away with it). Later, you can go to change the password, ask LP to generate one for you, and it will update its record.

There will be occasions where it would be helpful to be a tiny bit technically-oriented. I won't go into detail here, but it doesn't happen often enough to discourage you from LP's benefits.

One thing you will absolutely love when you have occasion to use it is "form fill". I suspect that other packages have something similar. You keep a profile with all the information about you, including credit card data. (It's all encrypted out there, and the only one who can decrypt it is your computer using your master password.) When you come across a form that requires personal information (as when you're making an online purchase) a couple of clicks and the whole thing gets filled out. You can have more than one profile; for example, where a different profile is a copy of your default profile, except for different credit card info to handle that situation. Naming that profile appropriately makes life easier.

I don't know everything about LP, but this should give you an idea of what it's like. You don't have to remember your passwords anymore, but you can always find out what they are.

They don't skimp on documentation, either. You can download and print their 186-page user manual if you're so inclined.
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