Why You Should Always FORGET Passwords

 

How many passwords are currently clogging up your brain?

10?
20?
50?
100?

Your brain has a finite capacity, though through training you can improve your use of it. The more you fill up your brain with things like passwords and phone numbers, the less capacity it has for learning important things, and thinking about them.

This and many related things were talked about a great deal at the Acceleration 2 seminar I attended in Florida last month, and are also related to things like GTD (Getting Things Done), task management, etc.

I Forgot My Email

Earlier today I received this message from a friend on StumbleUpon

Hey Andy, added you as a friend on my new account (forgot the email to my old one)

I actually told him I was going to name him in this post because I am quoting him, but then there is the “shame” element, and though better of it.

This problem likely is similar for 50% of my readers

Either

  1. They use the same password everywhere
  2. or

  3. They have a few passwords and try to remember them and sometimes forget

The Smart Ones Use Roboform (or something similar)

Nothing is ever going to be 100% secure for 100s or even 1000s of emails, but Roboform is fairly secure against everything other than the most advanced keytrackers.

I currently use Roboform to store over 2000 passwords, and they are generally random 12 or 14 character strings that I wouldn’t have a chance of remembering.
The reason I tend to use Roboform over other password management is because it is so portable. The password files are encrypted on your drive, and can be easily transferred to other computers, or you can buy a license to their pen drive version.

I purchased a license to Roboform with my first affiliate earnings over 2 years ago, and have since purchased additional licenses for all my computers.

Do yourself a favour and start forgetting passwords

 

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Comments

    • says

      Roboform remembers everything you enter into forms so it can be used to remember which username or email address you enter on a particular site, just as easily as a password.

      Lots of people do use labelling with email addresses for every site they leave an email address, so they can see who is selling their emails to spammers etc.

  1. says

    On OS X, 1Passwd is a great app and plugin for Safari and Firefox.

    Can’t live without it. AND I can comfortably create secure passwords without worrying about forgetting them.

  2. says

    Does remembering a few dozen, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. really effect memory as much as this article leads us to believe?

    I think you are exaggerating this point a little bit. The human brain is the most awe-inspiring “machine” in existence, and is quite capable of remembering passwords and phone numbers while also operating at an incomparably high capacity.

    • says

      Michael that is what the experts believe, and there are so many sources of expertise that recommend using a storage mechanism you trust for important information so that you can forget about it until the time when you need it, that I am not going to try to argue the point.

      I could spend hours or days trying to remember a load of passwords many of which I don’t use even once per month, but I would much rather not have to remember any of them.

  3. Jonathan Armis says

    I found RoboForm from Rich Schefren, and have loved it ever since. Just a few it can’t do, but that’s still heaps of time saved.

    And if Roboform ever fails… shudder.

    I can’t find a back-up option. Just a choice to make a physical print out.

    • says

      Jonathan

      Roboform stores its data in a very accessible location, it used to be in My Documents, but seems to use

      c:\My RoboForm Data

      Just zip that folder and save it to a CD occasionally, or use some secure online storage.

      I do store one password on paper, access to my gmail account, but I have it buried in a 512 character string and stored safely

  4. Enwikopedia says

    I totally disagree with this:

    Your brain has a finite capacity, though through training you can improve your use of it. The more you fill up your brain with things like passwords and phone numbers, the less capacity it has for learning important things, and thinking about them.

    You can not prove that there is finite ‘capacity’… maybe just finite throughput but not capactiy. Push yourself and you will be amazed.

  5. Jonathan Armis says

    Thanks Andy,

    I read a post at http://www.JamesBrausch.com that said something about making life so that you never needed to keep passwords for yourself.

    I ain’t that far along yet. Roboform (and now the back up of it) is fine by me.

  6. says

    I think I have more than 100 passwords for every conceivable website imaginable. I store all of them on my separate personal yahoo account using Yahoo email’s Notes function. It’s invaluable!

    -Raymond (MONEY BLUE BOOK)

  7. says

    I must say that even if I don’t have 2000 passwords being used which personally I’d just see as way too extreme, I do go around with about 20 different passwords which tend to be unique username combinations to them as well and I’ve never actually needed any storage program to remember them.

    Better yet, no matter how hard I try birthdates, phonenumbers, letter strings, etcetera are simply figures which after I have used them for a couple of times just don’t forget.

    My first mobile phone number in example which is from 9 years ago by now, I still remember it clearly. My high school student number, no hard time recalling that either. The randomly generated keystring I got with my school mail account, it’s there alright. Birthdates of friends and family? I’m like a walking calendar.

    Personally I would actually try not to rely too much on programs to store passwords, birthdates, etcetera. Although your brain might not be 100% failsafe at all times, especially when you age, to keep using it effectively is a way though to train it well. So by starting to store all your info into programs you’re not really doing your memory that much of a favor at all since it’s being reduced in how much it’s used.

    Calendars, organizers, password storing, etcetera should simply function as a failsafe, not replace your brain.

  8. says

    PasswordSafe is a rather nice free, open source program that is pretty secure and portable. I store about 2k passwords in it as well. While it doesn’t have the robust browser integration of RoboForm you can quickly browse to a login URL from it and can do a quick copy/paste of usernames and passwords. Coupled with Mozy for backup and FolderShare or a thumb drive for portability across systems it makes for a pretty slick setup.

  9. says

    Great post, I have over 500 passwords and have them all stored in notepad, i’m constantly worried about my security, I have worked with Robo Form in the past but have actually had some problems with security.

    I will try some of these other suggestions, thanks guys!

  10. says

    My wife got on Roboform when she first really started using the internet a while ago and loves it. I was reluctant at first because it felt unsafe thinking that my passes were being saved.

    But actually it works sweetly. I just keep one or two passes in my head. lol : )

    Kenney

  11. says

    YES! I definitely feel your pain. It was just too hard trying to remember all of my passwords and it just seemed as if I kept getting more and more accounts for me to have passwords to. I think you should try Mitto! A free online safe and secure password manager.

    I hope you get a chance to check us out.

    Thanks!

    Elgin Stafford
    Mitto–Your Safe and Secure Password Manager
    http://mitto.com
    Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mittoapp