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by Ray Carlson

Q. I understand that it is important to have different passwords for each website where I enter personal information, but I am afraid to carry a list of my passwords. Is there a safe way to remember my passwords?

A. There are a number of software programs that will handle that task. You use one master password to enter the program and the program keeps track of all other user names and passwords. One of the higher rated programs of this type, Lastpass, is free. You may download the program here.

Once the program is setup, it will ask for your email address and a Master Password. Once installed, the program will offer to store any user names and passwords at any website you visit. It will even offer to generate stronger passwords for you. You can store basic personal information and let the program fill in forms at these sites. All this information and the passwords are stored at their website where everything is encrypted.

The one thing they do not store is your master password which is kept on your own computer in encrypted form. This way no one who might break into their computer can access your information. When away from your computer, you can access your information and passwords as long as you download the software onto the computer you are using or onto a USB drive with Firefox or Chrome Portable. Check the Frequently Asked Questions on the Lastpass website for more details including other special features.

Published: Courier 3/20/11 - Page 5C