Decrypt This: The Password Management Software Quiz

Staff

4 Min Quiz

True or False: Password management software makes sure you keep all your passwords synchronized between accounts.

Synchronizing passwords between accounts is actually less secure than having different passwords for each account. Password management software helps you keep track of all those different passwords.

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Which of the following has made the biggest impact on the need for password management?

The Web has encouraged the creation of sites that have their own separate user account systems. Trying to remember all those passwords can be challenging, especially for Web sites you don't access often. Password management software helps you save and retrieve all those passwords when you need them.

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Why use password management software instead of just keeping a document on your computer with all your passwords listed there?

Plain text in a document isn't as secure as an encrypted file or database record. Besides the fact that someone could look over your shoulder and read your password file, a hacker who accesses your computer could open the document and read all your passwords.

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How does Internet Explorer keep its saved passwords secure when you're using Microsoft Windows?

As of this writing, Microsoft's approach to keeping saved passwords secure is to save them in the Windows registry. The registry keys that store the passwords are protected with Triple DES encryption, which uses your Windows login credentials as part of its cipher.

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True or False: Firefox saves passwords in a database.

Firefox encrypts and encodes passwords, but actually saves them in a plain text file named signons.txt, signons2.txt or signons3.txt.

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Web browser features that save passwords leave those passwords particularly vulnerable to what type of attack?

Malware can be designed to sniff out where the most common Web browsers store saved password information, and then to gather that data and send it over the Internet to a remote hacker. Protect yourself from such malware with a reliable firewall plus up-to-date anti-virus software.

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Which of the following is the greatest threat to your passwords if you're using dedicated password management software?

If a hacker can log in as you on your own computer, that's the most vulnerable position your password could be in. In most cases, the password management software lets you set a master passkey that adds an additional layer of protection against these local attacks.

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True or False: Aurora password management software can replace all the form-filling features available in Web browsers.

Aurora has a form-filling feature that works across most major Web browsers. This means you can disable both password saving and form filling in each browser and, instead, let Aurora manage all that data entry. This option means you can take advantage of Aurora's strong encryption when saving your personal information.

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Which PC manufacturer took password encryption to the hardware level with a specially designed security chip?

Lenovo T-series ThinkPads include a chipset on the motherboard called the Embedded Security System. That chip can encrypt, decrypt and store passwords and other sensitive data. You'll need to run Lenovo's ThinkVantage software in Windows to configure the chip.

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Which of these password management options works on several different desktop and mobile operating systems?

Because RoboForm is a Web app, you can use it on Windows, Mac and Linux desktop platforms and Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry and Palm mobile platforms. Chances are, as long as you have a Web browser, you can use RoboForm password management software. The other choices here will only work on operating systems in which you can install the software.

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How often should you require a password to access your computer?

For optimal security, you should set your computer up so that a password must be entered any time it is booted or wakes from an idle state. In addition, you probably want to lock your screen manually before you step away and choose an idle interval before the screen saver automatically kicks in.

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In what scenario might Web-based password management be your best option?

If you're using multiple computers with different operating systems, you might want to use your password management app in all of them. The most cross-compatible option is to use a Web app that runs in most browsers on a variety of operating systems.

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In what scenario might keeping a hand-written or printed record of your passwords be a safe and reliable option?

Staying in one place means you're less likely to lose the paper with your passwords on it, and you'll probably keep it in the same spot by your computer at all times. The only risk in this scenario is someone with malicious intent coming into your home, either at your invitation or by breaking in.

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Which of the following can be specially designed to find passwords on your computer and send them to a hacker elsewhere on the Internet?

Since password management software tends to save files using the same names or in the same locations on every file system, malware can be easily programmed to find and retrieve the contents of those files.

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Which of the following is your best defense against malware hacking your saved passwords?

Malware is best fought with good anti-virus software that's updated regularly with the latest threats. The other choices can help keep your passwords more secure, but they don't prevent the malware from trying to snag your data.

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You may not be able to stop every hacker, but you can deter many of them from accessing the password data on your computer by doing what?

By using a complex master password or strong encryption for your list of passwords, hackers may give up on your data and move on to an easier target.

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Instead of or in addition to a master password, you might require a fingerprint or retinal scan to unlock your password data. What type of data is this called?

Biometric data is a digital representation of your physical features, which can be used to identify you.

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True or False: For best security, you should never change your master password for your password management software.

To keep your data as safe as possible, you should change your master password every two or three months or any time you think that password has been compromised.

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Embedded security chips and other hardware can make which password management risk even riskier?

Typically, if you lose or forget your master password for your password management software, you can probably still use your computer and initiate a password recovery procedure. If you add in the hardware-based feature that requires that master password to boot your operating system, you risk being unable to access your entire system if you lose or forget that password.

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What's the best way to minimize your risks when using Web-based password management software?

When it comes to Web-based password management software, the best way to minimize your risks is to only use products from companies that have a reputation for being trustworthy and dependable.

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About This Quiz

Password management software corrals all of your wayward little passwords together while keeping them out of the clutches of hackers. Curious about how this shepherding software works? Take our quiz to test your skills.

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