Plannedscape Postings


Storing Passwords In Bookmarks
A Good Bad Idea

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2021-02-04
I'm about to give a piece of advice that is kind of a bad idea. It's about passwords. I'm about to share an idea which we all know is not the best one when it comes to keeping online passwords secure.

Have you seen the quandary that parents get in when their children get to high school age and they're worried about their kids drinking and driving Drinking is bad but drinking and driving is the nightmare scenario. So the first advice is "Don't drink" which is quickly followed by "... but if you do, please call us for a ride instead of driving."

Analogously, my advice here is Take web password security seriously. But if you're going to have them unencrypted on your computer anyway, then at least choose difficult passwords and you can store them in your browser.

Before we get to our idea, let's also cover a little ground with the help of some solid articles on the web.

Password Manager Apps

This is a great way to keep very secure - and very unique (don't reuse one password on multiple sites) - passwords. I'm sure you've all heard of these. We give this a 8/10 on our completely fictitious Secure-O-Meter score.

Here's a CNET article with some recommendations of great ones.

Of course, password managers aren't fool-proof. What is, really. Here's a good counter argument to managing your secure codes through an app on your computer.

On Paper

Robert here at Plannedscape and I have long fantasized that we would start a tech consultancy called "Revert" which basically advises companies to take as many things as possible offline and put them back onto paper and into file folders. We'll keep you posted how that business progresses.

But meanwhile, writing your passwords down on paper really is the best solution. Yes, you cannot cut and paste your password, which in a way is what makes it so secure.

Here's a compelling case from Vox on the subject.

If somebody breaks into your office and your master password list is right next to your coffee, that might be an issue. But when it comes to cybersecurity, the crimes we are all trying to prevent are 99% online. Keep that in mind. And try keeping your printed password list in a file folder called "Boring Stuff" or "Not Porn" and, better yet, keep it in an odd place in your filing cabinet.

Don't Do Nothing

Mainly, don't phone it in when it comes to web security. Those of us who are cutting corners are fully aware we are cutting corners while we're doing it. You know better. Which is why we are introducing this half-measure solution below.

We know that convenience and speed are going to rule the day. So we would rather have a solution which required a full takeover of your machine to hack than a solution of repeat passwords, emailing them to yourself or easily guessed "TopSecret123" as your password.

Write Your Password Into Your Bookmark In Your Browser

Since many of these sites that you visit which require a password are already bookmarked in your browser then here's the idea. Put the password in your bookmark.

Right where you name (or edit the name of) your bookmark, put it right there. Here’s what it looks like in Chrome when you right-click a bookmark and Edit.

Again, we stress that this is not the most secure thing. But it's a hybrid of something fast, convenient and a little secure. It’s not the best idea. But we just don't want you killing yourself or others behind the wheel if you drink - because we love you! (If you don't remember my analogy at the top of this article, then that last sentence is a little weird.)

Editing those bookmarks is easy in all browsers. Give it a try. Here’s a Firefox screen cap of mine.

That password really is just an acronym of "I can’t give you anything but love" with "80" replacing "baby". Acronyms that you can associate with a password, site or app are always a good idea. Although I can assure you that this really isn’t my cPanel password, so don’t bother.

If I'm Wrong

Let me stop you there - this is kinda wrong. But we want to have people take precautions in a way that's sustainable. So, if you've got a highly-secure solution that lazy people will actually do, we're all ears. Seriously.