Did I just Steal Your Password?
If your current password management solution looks something like the picture here, it's quite possible anyone could steal your passwords. The person next to you at Starbucks may appear to be smiling politely in your direction, but they could be using the eye contact to distract you from their effort to copy down your user account information.
I see sticky notes with user data plastered on laptop cases all over the place. Coffee shops and airport gate areas, and the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry are just a few of the places where I see this general lack of security.
Dramatically increasing your password security takes minimal effort. Firefox includes a great password management solution if you only have a few passwords to remember, just be sure to enable the encryption option and protect your passwords with a master password so you aren't exposing them. I use Roboform for my own password management. If you're on a Mac keeping your passwords in the Key Chain will do the same service, which might be why I almost never see sticky notes on a Mac. Those are just a few of the options, there are literally dozens of password managers.
Posting your passwords in a public way will get your data stolen. This post was most recently inspired by the woman sitting next to me in coach on my BOS to SEA flight Sunday. Her sticky note password solution looked just like this. My other favorite is the sticky note under the keyboard trick used by several of my co-workers at an insurance company I worked for over 10 years ago. If the goal is to keep administrative level access to those with the appropriate clearance, a sticky note is a lousy security plan.
And while I'd never consider stealing a password from anyone, I do occasionally point out that there might be a safer alternative. How about you? Ever recommend a password manager to replace the sticky note solution?