Cookies are wonderful things, until............

Lynn Larsen

Lynn Larsen
Cookies are wonderful things. They make our internet experience much richer because they allow websites to remember who you are, what you like to do there and have done there. When you check the "Remember Me" box on the logon screen, the website (including the puts a cookie into your browser so that at subsequent logons from that browser (and that computer) the website can determine that you are Mr. Midengine and your password is XXXXXX. And, poof, you are logged on.

This works great UNTIL you install a new browser, change computers or logon from a different computer. Since the cookie is not found, the program doesn't know who you are and you must give it your user id and password to get in. (There is usually a "clear cookies" command associated with browser security tools that can have the same effect, so beware of this as well.) So, if you have forgotten the password that the cookie is associated with and you are about to change your browser or computer, logon (letting the cookie validate you) and then change your password. (Be sure not to lose the paper you wrote the new password on.) Then when you logon from your new browser or computer, fill in your user id and new password and check the "Remember Me" box. Then you are set to go.

A word on passwords.
If you are like me, you've probably got a dozen or so passwords for various things. I've got one password I use for trivial things that really wouldn't cause any harm if the password was compromised. For everything else, I keep my passwords in a file that is zipped with password protection. (You must know the password to uncompress and see the file.) But what about the password for the zip file, you may ask. Use a password that you use frequently and that you are forced to change on a regular basis; like, the password for your workplace computer or a workplace program that fits this description. If security is a serious consideration, you will not be able to use a password that isn't significantly different from your old password (sometimes this will include your last several passwords); and this is a GOOD policy. Many will force you to use a password the contains one or more numerals or special characters in addition to normal alpha characters; another good policy. So, I have set up a rotation of about a dozen totally unrelated passwords that I rotate through and are kept in my protected zip file with an indicator as to which is the current password. A word of caution, be sure to delete the original file once you zip it, BUT don't just hit or click delete; instead, select the file, then press shift-delete. This will actually delete it and not just send it to the Recycle Bin where it might sit for months. Another trick for those who actually know how to type (Qwerty, remember that ;-) Use a password that is something familiar to you, say your dog's name, but when you type it, move your fingers one position to the left or right or up or down from the normal "home position." It will look like goobly-gook, but will be based on something easy to remember.