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The Danger of Using the Same Password For All Websites

With most businesses moving towards the Internet, it is very common for one to have multiple online accounts. You might have online accounts for your bank, credit card, E-Bay, PayPal, Google Gmail, Hotmail, blogs, etc. Every time before you open a new account online, do you stop and ponder whether you should use the same password?

While using the same password saves you the hassle of having to remember multiple passwords for various websites, it also makes it easier for hackers to hack into your accounts. Let's say you are using the same password for your Bank of America online savings account, CitiBank credit card, and Hotmail account. If your use name and password for Hotmail are stolen, the intruder will try to use the same user name and password on various websites (including Bank of America and CitiBank) to see if they can break into your accounts. When one of your accounts is breached, you are risking all of your accounts to be breached.

You can avoid this security risk by using a different user name and password each time you open a new account online. But how are you going to keep track of all the different user names and passwords for these accounts?

Some browsers (like Internet Explorer or FireFox) save your user names and passwords for you so that you don't have to retype them each time you come back to the same site. However, the data can easily be deleted by other users if you are sharing your computer with others. If you hard drive crashes, you will lose all the data that the browser saved for you.

Some websites provide a "Remember Me" checkbox so that you can bypass the login page the next time you visit the same site. These websites rely on your browser's "cookies" in order for this to work. A cookie is a hidden text file that is generated by the browser behind the scene. It can contain your user name, password, and any other personal information that the site needs to keep track of your browsing behavior.

One disadvantage of cookies is that they expire after certain period. The expiration date is set by the author of the site. The expiration date can range from 1 minute to a few years. Once expired, the cookie will automatically be deleted by your browser behind the scene and you will be prompted to type in your user name and password again. Cookies can also be deleted by others if you are sharing your computer.

Relying on your browser to keep track of you user name and password is not a safe bet. You need a more reliable tool to keep track of you login information. That reliable tool is called Password Manager. A good example of password manager is RoboForm. RoboForm encrypts all your website logins and keep them away from potential hackers. You can easily retrieve your use name and password with a click of the mouse. RoboForm automatically fills out the user name and password fields on the site and log on for you.