For the Love of God, Don’t Forget Your Passwords

You know how when you log in somewhere online, your browser asks you if it could remember your password for you? Tell it to go screw itself. You see that convenient little check-box under the Log In button that says Remember Me? Don’t check that box. Don’t let the browser remembers you, because otherwise you’ll forget yourself.

I’m not sure if this phenomenon just happens in my family, or if it’s a problem anywhere else. We get so coddled by our browser auto-login into our accounts that seeing a Sign In page turns into something of a horrorshow. Wait what’s my password again? If we’re lucky, the browser remembers our password for us. There’ll be little unreadable dots in the Password box. The browser’s way of saying It’s okay, baby. We got this.

And then your browser, or your computer, breaks down and you can’t access it anymore. And then maybe you have to sign in into the account through a different device, and your old computer is nowhere to be found. And then it happened five minutes next to a deadline and you’re panicking your ass off that you’re locked out of everything you have online.

We have advanced to the age where we rely so much on digital storage, on services under the lock-and-key of Usernames and Passwords. Or in other words, a name and an arbitrary set of letters and numbers. Trust me, that’s way easier to lose than a physical key.

Now, I don’t care if you have a legendary memory and you think there’s no way you’ll forget your passwords. If you don’t use it for a couple of months, it’ll have the same place as random little anecdotes in your head: you could retrieve it perfectly if you’re lucky, but most likely it’ll only be in little bits and pieces. So the best way to remember your password is by using it. By repeating it. Over and over again.

So do away with those auto-login and password reminders. Enter your password whenever you want to get into the system, even if that’s multiple times a day. Sure, it’s a hassle. Why do it when there’s an easier way, right? But it’ll be worth it, trust me. It’s a small price to pay for not being locked out of your account forever because you’re an idiot.

I’m not necessarily saying that auto-login is a bad thing. It’s okay for smaller services. Something which password you can still retrieve, like the sort where you can just fill a Forget My Password form so they’ll send a link to your e-mail. But then what about your e-mail account’s password, huh? Not to mention back accounts, which are security nightmares you’re making worse by handing off the key to to your browser.

Don’t forget your password. Type it in every time your logging in. Repeat it in your fingers.

Or you could just write it down. Please do that too if you’re really forgetful. Just keep it secure, and no one’s going to laugh at you for doing it.

PS: This is not a bloody excuse to use a weak password. Use a strong password, but one that you can type in comfortably. But that’s a rant for another day.