P30%_gha! or p0%3ghA!? – Now, what was that password to buy something at eBay or search the archive? Passwords need to be complicated to increase data security. But no one can remember cryptic passwords. A lot of PC users therefore resort to sticking notes with passwords on their monitor. These sticky notes or forgotten passwords drive corporate security experts to despair. You can now also store passwords but that only solves the problem on your own PC. If you want to read e-mails from an external computer, say in an Internet cafe, then you have got a problem. A new program comes to the rescue – the PasswordSitter. "Using it, you only need to remember a single password. The program provides all the other passwords on any device, whenever you need them", says Dr. Markus Schneider from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT. "A special procedure based on state-of-the-art encryption technology provides the necessary security." Despite new security mechanisms, requesting a password is the most common method of checking a user's identity at present. Many people are simply overwhelmed by the increasing number of passwords, especially if they change them regularly. According to the annual Safenet survey, 50 percent of all professional computer users write down their passwords, and around a third even divulge their passwords to colleagues. A lot of people go for weak passwords, such as the name of a spouse, or do not think twice about using the same password for everything. "These kinds of practices harbor potential security risks", says Schneider. "On the other hand, it's virtually impossible for you to follow the security advice from the experts without any help." Here is where the PasswordSitter is a big help. It is an ideal solution for companies, where password problems account for around 30 to 50 percent of helpdesk costs. The software also bolsters security because it generates strong passwords, while the level of security can be set to allow different password guidelines to be followed. Thanks to its clear user interface, the PasswordSitter also helps change passwords quickly. And there is no need to install or connect additional hardware with the PasswordSitter. What is more, it does not store any passwords – whether as plain text or in encrypted form. Other systems have clear practical drawbacks: You can forget or lose USB sticks and you cannot access locally stored password files from another computer. By contrast, the PasswordSitter provides users with access to their passwords from any device, anytime.
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