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  1. #1
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    Using password managers to automate data entry


    LangaList Plus

    Using password managers to automate data entry


    By Fred Langa

    Tired of repeatedly filling out the same bits of information online? The right software can help and also make it easier to use highly secure passwords.

    Plus: MS Office encryption and password protection can be either great or terrible, depending on the version you use; and why you can't to set up password hints for a MS account.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/using-password-managers-to-automate-data-entry/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Being a Ludite, I still have problems with internet based password managers. But I have used Secret! by linkesoft (https://linkesoft.com/secret/) for more years than I care to remember. It is a simple encrypted database application where I keep not only passwords, but also banking information, social security numbers, medical information . . . Desktop application sync's to smart phone and provides ALL my secure information at any time and place. And their customer service is fantastic! And now that I am "officially OLD," my children keep a copy of my file (they use the program also) and can access my vital information should they need to from home.

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Fred, I've found of late that a number of sites including some Microsoft do not "activate" Last Pass and I hvae to go copy the password to enter it. That is annoying.

  4. #4
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    After some time using a spreadsheet then encrypted database (which corrupted), I've now been using LastPass happily for some years. I did do a very successful CSV import. I spent some time after that upgrading some of the lame passwords I'd been using.

    It doesn't work automatically on 100% of sites but I suspect thats because they've used non-standard form ID - nothing any automated tool can fix. I always copy the new password to the clipboard, then check it saved correctly. But thats still so much easier than the old way. I also export the data periodically as a backup.

    There are a few things I don't want filled automatically ever, like bank account info. So I don't enter that. Simple. And I make extensive use of Secure Notes for text bits like offline passwords.

  5. #5
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    There's a Microsoft booby trap which your article didn't cover. Consider this: You've been using LastPass password manager (or other similar password manager). You took advantage of it's "Generate password" feature to create and implement a long, random password for many websites including your Hotmail/Outlook.com email account. This is your "Microsoft account" also. Later, you updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10 on which you use a local account instead of a Microsoft account to sign in. Are you with me so far?

    So, you go to the Windows Store for the first time since updating to Windows 10 to download some app or game. You get the app or game, no problem. That night you shutdown the computer. Next morning you turn on the computer and - wait for it - up comes a Welcome/sign-in screen that requires you to sign in with your Microsoft account. Windows Store has arbitrarily changed your Windows 10 user account from a local account to a Microsoft account requiring your Hotmail/Outlook.com username and password. Now, here's the booby trap. You don't have a clue what your Hotmail/Outlook.com passsword is because it's stored on LastPass, but you can't access LastPass until after you sign-in on the computer. It's Catch-22 all over again!!

    So, of course, you're now forced to go to a different computer that is booted up and working, sign-in to LastPass, and write down your long, random password for Hotmail/Outlook.com. And, if that second computer doesn't have LastPass already installed, you'll have to download and install it. This may or may not be acceptable to the owner of that computer. Anyway, then you can go back to your own computer, do the sign-in, then do the tedious task of changing your user account from a Microsoft sign-in back to a local account.

    And they say Windows is no fun anymore - hah!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandma38401 View Post
    But I have used Secret!
    Please mention whether recommended software is free or paid. (I see this one is cheap, but not free.)

    cheers, Paul

  7. #7
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    Mr. Langa,
    You and others at WindowsSecrets have often recommended password managers.
    I would dearly like to use one, but am afraid that they could cause me to loose all of my passwords at once.
    Of course, I can back up any local password files, but what happens if the software company that makes the product or provides an on-line server ceases operation?
    What are the risks? Can you reassure me?
    Jim AuBuchon

  8. #8
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    Use an offline manager. Then you always have a copy of the software that opens the database.
    Windows Secrets recommend KeePass.

    cheers, Paul

  9. #9
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    Paul,

    Thank you. I investigated several password managers some time ago and decided that KeePass was my best choice. I installed it on my computer several months ago, but have not configured it or begun to use it. I don't remember what, but there was something that made me feel unsafe with it. Sooner or later, I will have to use it since i am even more nervous about not using it.

    My present method is to keep my passwords in a local file and cut and past them when needed.

    I am also not looking forward to the tedious task of manually changing a large number of passwords at multiple websites. I guess I just have to bite the bullet and do it.

    Thanks again.

    Jim

  10. #10
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    I have used KeePass for over 10 years and as long as you follow a few basic precautions you will be fine.
    1. Use a long password that you can easily remember.
    2. Backup your database regularly.
    3. Test that you can open the backup occasionally.

    There is no need to change all your passwords when you use a password manager, just enter the existing data into the manager.
    KeePass will import your data if you format it as CSV.

    cheers, Paul

  11. #11
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    Paul,

    Thanks. Actually, I want to change most of my passwords. They are of medium strength, usually 12-16 characters, but I have been using them too long. Is there any help in KeePass to make changing these passwords to something generated by KeePass more convenient?

    Jim AuBuchon

  12. #12
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    Not as such, but it is easy. See this post.
    https://sourceforge.net/p/keepass/di...93c4cf59/#581c

    cheers, Paul

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  14. #13
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    Thank you. I will try it.

    Jim AuBuchon

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