Passwords for your computer, your e-mail, your on-line banking, your on-line purchases (one for each company), your on-line subscriptions - it goes on and on. And then there are the PINs for your bank cards, too.
How do you organize all of this confidential information? There are a number of places to store the information, some better than others, including:
1. In your head.
2. On little sticky notes on the side of your computer.
3. On little sticky notes all over the place.
4. On paper, in some organized fashion.
5. On your computer, in a text file or a spreadsheet. The file may or may not have a password of its own, and may or may not be encrypted.
6. On your computer, using a password management program.
7. On another computer that you access through the internet.
In looking for expert advice to share with you, I came across this recommendation from security expert Bruce Schneier:
You can't memorize good enough passwords any more, so don't bother. Create long random passwords, and write them down. Store them in your wallet, or in a program like Password Safe. Guard them as you would your cash. Don't let Web browsers store passwords for you. Don't transmit passwords (or PINs) in unencrypted e-mail and Web forms. Assume that all PINs can be easily broken, and plan accordingly.(If you're really interested in this topic, you might want to read the comments regarding this advice.)
If you'd like to go with option #4, you could try using the Internet Password Organizer. Innovention Lab was kind enough to send me copies for my evaluation, and the quality seems to be quite good. Another similar product (that I haven't yet seen) is the Password Directory; it seems to have a soft cover rather than the hard cover on the Internet Password Organizer. To add an additional level of security, you could follow the suggestions from Paul Theodoropoulos regarding obfuscating the passwords when you write them down.