MadMod Computing The MadMod Computing Newsletter

Vol. 2003d

Welcome to this edition of The MadMod Computing Newsletter.   We hope that you enjoy the features of each issue and learn some computing skills along the way.

First, a reminder to make backups of your important files, and to use Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter--at least monthly.  Second, keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.

Featured in This Issue
1.     Managing Your Passwords
2.     Generating Strong Passwords
3.     Roman Lab's "Any Password" (website)

1.    Managing Your Passwords
As time goes on, we all tend to accumulate numerous screen names and passwords.  Where to safely store them from prying eyes while making them easy to find for ourselves are two problems that need urgent solution.

Bad password management: passwords on sticky notes or paper, in your PDA without encryption, in a Microsoft Word or Excel File on your computer without encryption.

Good password management: passwords stored using a password management tool containing encryption.

In the third part of this newsletter, read about "Any Password", made by RomanLab Software.  This is that a free password management tool made available to individuals and non-profits.  (For-profit categories must purchase this shareware and register it for $19.00.)  Once downloaded and installed, "Any Password" will keep your lists of passwords safely encrypted on your computer.  The program is easy to manage and it keeps your information safe!

The password archive is opened with one memorized master password.  (Note: I've assumed that there are no malicious, keylogger, spyware programs running on your computer trying to steal what you type at your keyboard.)  "Any Password" allows the creation of multiple, separate, password entries and/or a simple list written into an easy-to-read comment field, thus solving the problem of keeping multiple screen names and passwords handy.

2.    Generating Strong Passwords
We all need passwords to safely use our networks and the Internet.  Generally, I have about 20 different ones that I keep safe within "Any Password".  The program allows me easy access to these un-memorable, strong passwords.  A strong password should contain random upper/lower case letters and numbers such as "aK7B3r9z", thus making it very difficult for computer thieves to crack.  The password should not contain dictionary words, names of people/pets or strings such as 12345.

To help you create strong, unique passwords, a small utility is available on our website, URL - Specific Password Generator, for your use.  Websites requiring passwords should have different ones for each site and each password should be strong.  Repeating the same information in the first 3 fields of the calculator gives back the same password if you need to get it again.  To generate a different password, simply change the keyword in the second field of our URL - Specific Password Generator.

Using strong passwords and a password manager such as "Any Password", helps to secure your identity and personal information.  However, there's another issue...

Common industry recommendations are that you should change your passwords monthly at networks and websites you use, to lessen the inside-the-industry theft of personal passwords.  These types of theft are potentially-large problems for all industries--more likely than a hacker getting to the information in your computer.  Home users might not need to change passwords quite so frequently, but they should always check credit card and bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

3.    RomanLab's "Any Password" (website)
Individuals and non-profits can obtain the free password management tool "Any Password" made by RomanLab Software found at the website  Once at the website, select "Any Password" in the left panel and follows the directions for downloading and installing the program.  This neat password management tool takes all the hassle out of safely storing your sensitive passwords in one place that you can easily access.

When you need a password, run the utility from Start | Programs | Any Password and simply put in your memorized master password to open the archive.  Once opened, find the password you need, then copy and paste the password into the form that requires it.

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E-mail to the editor: David Mawdsley

Copyright © 2003, The MadMod Computing Newsletter