Sony Hacking Aftermath: You need to be using a password manager

The I.T. consciousness of the world has been shocked by the recent hacking of severs at Sony. It turns out that key executives and other employees were keeping passwords in a clear text file (like a Word document). The amount of damage could sink Sony.

So how many of you are still keeping your passwords in a text file? That ends this weekend. It must.

I am going to warn you right now. If you do not use a secure password manager, with a master password, do not let this weekend go by without setting this up. For a lot of you, you may not even need my help. You can feel free to contact the customer support of these companies directly and see if you can figure out the set up without my help. I think many of you can. Invest a couple hours of you own time, trying to protect yourself against identity theft. If you don’t, you should not be using a computer. Please see the “Who doesn’t need a password manager?” section below before pulling your hair out.

Commercial solutions that I have used with my customers

LastPass: $12 per year (includes Android and iOS access)
-good customer support by e-mail, respond in 24 hours or less (my experience)

Robo Form: $20 per year
-Robo Form they have responded to my inquiries in the past
Robo Form also offers free phone support from Virginia, which I know is a must for a lot of you +1 (703) 890-0676

Dashlane — $40 per year (Windows and Mac)
– direct vip email support for paid customers,

1Password: $50 for a license (Windows or Mac, Windows and Mac slightly more)
– good customer support by e-mail

*For the record, I use both 1Password and Last Pass. I have a collection of education passwords and also a collection of personal / work passwords. For nearly all of you of you a single password manager will be fine. 1Password charges extra for iPhone/ iPad access.

Browser Based solutions

Chrome and Firefox offer built in password managers. The Chrome password manager syncs those passwords with your Google account and encrypts that backup; you still need a strong Windows / Mac system password. Ideally, you will use one of the three solutions above.

You have your marching orders for this weekend’s project!! Please read through and look at the tutorials / videos on the sites above. If you have any hesitation about self-teaching yourself some basic concepts, call Robo Form and have them walk you through setting up their product. (Hi, I am ______ I need to purchase your password manager an need some help setting it up for the first time.) It’s that important. I don’t care if you pay me to come set this up for you or not. This is not an advertisement; I am busy this weekend anyway. Try to do it your yourself first! Again, if its not worth a couple hours of your time to figure out — I am not sure you should be using a computer unless you fall into the category below.

** Who doesn’t need a password manager?
If you never do any online shopping OR online banking OR log into (more than 3) websites that have your personal information — then you probably don’t need a password manager. I can maybe think of 1 or 2 of my clients who don’t need one.

Finally, if you do have a text file /Word document with passwords on your computer.. Print it out, print 2 copies and delete the file it immediately.

And finally, for those of you whom I already have set up with one of the password managers — You are not off the hook. Some of you have been slacking in learning the ins and outs of it. Visit the appropriate website and go through the tutorials and videos this weekend.