Although creating long and complex or complicated passwords is a tedious process and even the man behind the idea admitted that it is worth nothing, currently there is no better way of preventing your account from being compromised. But let’s be honest: nobody in their right mind is able to memorize every single password, especially those that contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. To avoid forgetting these long passwords, many internet users simply put them into a spreadsheet hoping that this way they are able to cut the Gordian knot once and for all.
Sadly, they couldn’t be further from the truth…
Reasons Why Password Spreadsheets Are Bad
Creating a spreadsheet for your passwords is pretty easy, particularly if you’re in possession of a handy template downloaded from the internet. With it you’ll place the name of the site, the URL, the username and the password into dedicated columns in the spreadsheet and think that the hardest part is finally done.
Unfortunately, no matter where you store it, a spreadsheet is still nothing more than a simple file with data in it. In other words, every single time you want to access an account of yours, the spreadsheet has to be opened and you have to search for the username and the password. Not to mention that all data has to be entered and updated manually – a process that would culminate into hours of pure torture.
All browsers (even Internet Explorer) are capable of saving account credentials when you first access a newly created account, so keeping passwords in a spreadsheet is only beneficial if you don’t want to forget them. We admit that there are security concerns when it comes to having your passwords saved by a browser, but it is practically guaranteed you’ll turn to this option after being forced to jot down the nth jumbled mess of characters.
Unless you find the best way to properly store your files at a safe place – an external hard drive, cloud storage or both – there is a chance that they could be corrupted due to hacker attacks, a virus or by a computer crash. And when a file is gone then it is gone forever – unless you pay a fortune for experts to save or restore the damaged data back to its former glory. Now imagine this with a spreadsheet full of your most sensitive data: it would be a waking nightmare for you, no doubt.
4. Safety Issues
Let’s say you did everything to protect that spreadsheet, starting with uploading it into the cloud or by entering your passwords into a Google spreadsheet. Although online storage can only be accessed by the user or by the person who has permission to do so, there is still one major concern: your unencrypted data is online, and therefore it can be stolen. In other words, if the account where the password spreadsheet is stored gets compromised it’s time to prepare yourself for a disastrous avalanche barreling into your life.
Another issue not many people think of is incompatibility: most spreadsheets are created as standard Excel files, but quite often they are saved in CSV format. But what if you want to use another program because it’s more convenient than the previous one? In almost all cases the answer is to either install a codec pack to be able to open the old files with the new program or convert the old files into the new format, a move that almost always results in file corruption.
+1. The Existence of Better Solutions
Since you don’t want to spend the majority of your time looking up the relevant username and password from the spreadsheet, why not give that task to a password manager? Such a program needs one master password after which it imports all other passwords from every site you use, so the next time you want to access an account the relevant username and password will either be inserted into their respective places by the software or you can skip the whole process and go for the auto login.
Additionally, a password manager encrypts all data and stores them safely in the cloud, making it impossible for hackers and unwanted eyes to take a look at your passwords. To top it all, these solutions are not only able to sync data across various devices, but it can import spreadsheets too.
Best Password Managers of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|