Author Topic: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?  (Read 3260 times)

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LindaRS

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I have a very small internet business and keep up with the industry I'm part of through various forums. On the 10th of April a topic was posted in one of those forums regarding an e-store owner who had become seriously ill. It took a couple of weeks to find out what was wrong with her, and now they know it is terminal. But the disease (CJD) has robbed her of her mind, so she is not lucid and no one knows her passwords. Her husband can't get into the computer because he doesn't know them. I suppose it will take a hacker to get into her files so others can take care of her business. So I am asking, what would happen to your computer business (email, accounts, e-commerce, ets.), whatever it may be, if you were suddenly unable to take care of it? Would your family know where to find the necessary passwords? We are always told to tell our passwords to no one, and keep them secret. But in this woman's case, that secret is causing problems and may well keep her subcontractors from being paid.

You can read the story of this young wife and mother here.
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jeremiah  10:23-24

Mimi

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2011, 04:21:02 PM »
Mine are all in my desk area but no one here knows that. They are hiding in plain sight. The moment something like that happened to me, believe me, my desk would be the first thing to be thoroughly examined.  ::) Not saying that is really a bad thing, I just know my family members.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Vicki

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2011, 04:58:51 PM »
I've been wondering that same thing recently. I couldn't work on taxes without a password I didn't have. Not good.

Dora

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2011, 06:47:42 PM »
Good advice....My granddaughter knows mine to get into computer, so does my son, as he works on it "remotely" sometimes, with my permission, of course.  :) But, I have a special book, with 2-3 pages of passwords (and special links to web sites) to different things I use frequently. She knows where that is, too...in a small bookstand beside my computer.
Dora

Mimi

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011, 08:31:45 PM »
This reminds me of something that happened to the little community where Jude lived and died. She had the community mailing list for the business association, along with financials various committees needed. When she suddenly died, no one had access to that information. We figured out some of her passwords but not the one so desperately needed for community business. I am sure someone suggested a hacker at some point. Even her sister who was the closest person on earth to her could not break it. It still sits all locked up.

  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 09:31:18 PM »
Most of our passwords are located in our computer if we do not have to enter them each time.   I imagine most of our home computers are not locked up?  My wife could access my computer and access all of my passwords I think. At least I am always surprised to find them all nicely listed.  :)  I also keep a hard copy of all passwords and user names.  Else I would forget most of them. Then, there are Seventh-day Adventists that we can get into most of their bank accounts and computer accounts.  Try ........  Well since this is a public forum, I will not add the rest of the numbers because they are really are used frequently.  I went back and erased the two numbers I had listed.  :)   A hacker is not needed. :(  Pins are always four numbers and passwords are usually eight.  So, it is rather easy to figure it out.
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JimB

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2011, 06:01:25 AM »
Most of our passwords are located in our computer if we do not have to enter them each time.

I suppose this is a common practice since both FireFox and IE offer to save your passwords for your convenience. However, this breaks all password security protocols. I enter all my passwords manually each and every time. Even my password to TRO. What if someone broke into your house and stole your computer? It does happen. Or if someone stole your laptop when you weren't looking. There are programs available to anyone that can snoop through FireFox or IE "stored" password files and reveal them in about 10 seconds.

There is one security protocol that I suppose I violate and that is sharing passwords. My wife and I know each other's passwords for important accounts but the only place they are stored is in the old noggin. This will actually come in handy when you're not near a computer but your spouse is. This also takes care of the issue where someone dies or becomes incapacitated. 

I will hold my tongue on the thought of having them written down in hard copy somewhere. :)

Let me make a suggestion. Use a program like Keepass. This way you only have to remember one password. The program itself keeps a database of your acounts and their passwords. You create a single "good" password that allows you into Keepass and once you're in you can look up the passwords to all your other accounts. This may sound like a pain but most people have their passwords memorized for accounts they use all the time and this (using Keepass) allows you to forget the passwords to the accounts you only use once in a while.

http://keepass.info/

I have the portable version that I keep on a usb drive that way if I go out of town I can take it with me. You can find the portable version here...

http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/keepass_portable

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Sister Dee

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2011, 07:26:40 AM »
Interesting subject.  When my son died last year, my husband asked the computer guy at his work to get into our son's laptop.  Even though it was a complicated password, he was able to do it.  I suppose he is a "hacker".  Since we had no reason to look at the computer, and I really didn't want to, we gave it to our oldest son.

I did learn, after our last computer crashed, not to store infrequently used passwords in it.  Right now, I can't imagine why anyone would actually need any of our passwords since we don't use our computer for business. 

Vicki

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2011, 11:47:09 AM »
I'm thinking a sealed envelope in the safe would suffice.

Richard Myers

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2011, 10:18:53 PM »
There are a couple of pw that I do not want remembered, so I enter them each time. I do not have bank accounts and such online. I do  not want to do business online. I am more concerned about credit card numbers when I do have to buy something online. And, the hard copy I have at home is safe unless someone breaks into the house, in which case, I will change my passwords. I had a computer stolen and life goes on. I have too many pw to remember, I can't remember all my pins that are four digits. :(  Life is too complicated and I am trying real hard to simplify things.  It will be a blessing to get to heaven and not have a car or a computer!!  :)  It hurts to sit on all that plastic. Women don't have to sit on their plastic cards!  I suppose before long they will have a device implanted in our foreheads with one pw for all we do. One number for all we do. And in order to get the number implanted so you can buy and sell, you need to go in on Sabbath to get it done. That will surely simply life for us!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mimi

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2011, 01:33:03 PM »
I'm thinking a sealed envelope in the safe would suffice.

Where are you from, the Midwest? That is way too practical!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Vicki

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2011, 01:56:02 PM »
yep  ;D Of course I didn't think about it until Jim started speaking Computerese.

LindaRS

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2011, 05:38:38 PM »
Jim, what would happen if both you and your wife were incapacitated? It's not something we want to happen, but it could happen and has happened. Most of my passwords are on my computer, but there are some that I will not allow it to remember for safety reasons. I hope you'll pardon my using the word but I can think of no better one at the moment. I don't want to become paranoid about passwords and what some hacker might do so that I am in constant fear and always searching for another method of foiling them. I am cautious, but I must also be practical. I do business on the computer. And it is evident by the stories posted here that not having passwords stored someplace can be a problem for those who must care for matters after another has died or is incapacitated in some way.
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jeremiah  10:23-24

Richard Myers

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2011, 09:43:54 PM »
Hackers are very good. We never know when they are going to gain access to our computers. But, no hacker has ever gotten into my kitchen. So, I think a hardcopy in the a secret panel under the garbage basket may be safe. :)  Of course you have to put this in your will and hide your will in a safe place.  Don't hide it so well your family can't find it when you die. Maybe if you told a good friend where you hide your will. Then your family could find it for sure, and then they will get your pws. :)  We probably ought to tell our family who the friend is who knows where the will is hidden, just in case!  :) Or you could post it online in case all forgot.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

LindaRS

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2011, 05:42:27 AM »
Richard, you have a sense of humor!  :D
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jeremiah  10:23-24

Vicki

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2011, 05:52:42 AM »
 :D

Mimi

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2011, 06:28:57 AM »
He certainly does! There comes a point when we try to be as prepared as possible without driving our minds to distraction. Sometimes "So what" seems to work just fine!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: What if you were incapacitated and no one knew your passwords?
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2011, 07:49:00 AM »
It is a serious concern.  When I went to Atlanta, I had to take my hard copy with me or else I could not access all of the sites and such that I might need. Here is a warning. No hacker has ever entered my home, but when you carry your hard copy while traveling, that is another matter. I did not treat the hard copy as I ought to have. I was not careful with the paper. I even lost it for a time. It worried me when I could not find it. Then I realized how serious it was. No bank accounts, but the passwords to a number of web sites and the server accounts.  And, all of my email accounts. It is serious.

One other important password that has created problems for me, is the wireless hub at home. Don't need to access it very often, but when you add a computer you better have the password.  :) 

If I did online banking and accessed credit cards, etc, I would not be so calm about where I kept my passwords. Since I do not, I sleep at night with no concern about my hard copy being in my office. No one in town wants access to what I have.  Unlike the criminals online from around the world that want it all. :(   
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.