A gift to avoid this Christmas

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Olivia Storey

Of all the Christmas gifts Santa could bring you this year, make sure you avoid this ‘Logins and Passwords’ notebook.

Nowadays you need a username and password for absolutely everything; Tesco shop? Social Media? Ordering Pizza? Online banking? All need login details.

For most the issue lies not with creating the accounts, but with actually remembering your login for each and every website or app you use.

Password reuse is disturbingly common, and should NOT be a method of keeping track of passwords.

Some have tried to find a solution to the password problem, and found a particularly worrying quick-fixes for this.

This includes ‘stylish and practical’ ways to keep all these usernames and passwords together in a fashionable index notebook. As fashionable as these may be, they are possibly the most unsafe way to record your login details.

Keeping all your usernames and passwords in an easy access index is begging to be stolen! And what if you misplace or loose the index? Any Tom, Dick or Harry who finds it will then have access to any and every account you’ve ever used.

Not only would your access details be stolen, but also any other information stored on those accounts. Any e-commerce accounts may also contain your name, home address, and financial information.

We ask Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, his professional thoughts on a physical ‘logins and passwords’ index book.

No, no and no.

“Everything about a physical notebook labelled ‘Logins and Passwords’ should ring as many alarms as possible.

“With so many passwords for so many things these days, our digital life must be organised to keep it secure

“The root of this idea is fantastic, the delivery however is the problem.

We need an automated password manager not a manual one.

“Of course we need to ensure only the right people get access to those usernames and passwords.

“If it were to be lost then anyone finding the item would not be able to use the data to compromise your accounts.

“A notebook listed in alphabetical order loudly shouting ‘Logins and Passwords’ is waiting to be lost or stolen.

“With the plethora of password managers available both free and paid for, they are the only real way of protecting your logins.

“Password managers keep all logins and passwords in place, searchable and in some cases able to check and warn you if you are re-using the same password, which is an absolute no-no.

“We do need all the help we can get but we also need to consider the dangers of stockpiling information that others could gain access to.”

Would you buy a logbook like this? Or do you use an encrypted password manager? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.

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