Manage Passwords Safely and Simply

Thursday, 13 March 2003, 9:10 AM EST

You're doing a little Web browsing at work when you come upon Widgetsnmore.com, a site that looks vaguely familiar. Suddenly, you see it: the multipurpose electronic gadget polisher you've coveted for weeks--and it's half price until 5 o'clock today! You click on the image to order it, and...uh-oh. The site asks for your password. What do you do?

a. Enter your cat's name--you use the same simple password at every site.
b. Frantically type word-and-number combinations you've used in the past.
c. Set up a brand-new account.
d. Give up, exit your browser, and learn to love your dull, unpolished gadgets.
e. Confidently enter drk#3kl8nfl and complete the transaction.

If you chose e, congratulations. You obviously have an advanced degree in password management. (Bonus points if you recently changed that password from its predecessor, wr&98zflg.)

If you answered anything but e, you're invited to join the Problem Password Club.

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