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September 17, 2013

Your Facebook password belongs in your will

(Continued)

Having all log-ins and passwords for bill payment and other financial accounts in one secure place would have helped Cara, especially in a time when she was already emotionally and physically exhausted — and too late to ask her mother about anything. So how do you do that?

If you ask five Internet security experts to list their favorite way to store passwords, you're likely to come up with more than five answers. First, of course, is simply to keep a handwritten list, stored somewhere safe, or with someone you trust, and inform your next of kin where it is. For more security (and legibility), you could keep the list on your computer, and even password-protect it — so long as you can remember the password. Next, you can use one of the online password protection companies. C-Net provides comprehensive reviews of technology and lists more than 700 password managers. Among the most widely used are 1Password, which, for a fee, can help you not only create strong passwords, but also help you remember and, if necessary, restore them. Also popular are several free services, including PasswordSafe and LastPass, which similarly offer the ability to help you create and retrieve passwords.

Risk No. 2: Loss of Data

Judy and her father were always close personally and professionally. For years, Judy served as business manager for her father's art gallery where they informally shared access to the gallery's computer. Judy felt quietly confident that the electronically shared versions of her father's drawings as well as his client contacts were safe and accessible. A year after her father's sudden death, Judy realized that simple software updates can make previous versions of electronic treasures obsolete. Immediately, she set out to create hard copies of files she wanted to save and share.

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