Everyone who uses the internet has come to dread login screens. Every time we visit a new website or install a new app, we are asked to come up with usernames and passwords — and we know we’re not supposed to use the same passwords again and again. David Shinkfield, an instructor at Computer Learning Center in Ewing, knows we’re all asking the same question: “How do you keep all those passwords straight?”
Most people have their own way of handling passwords, Shinkfield says — using the same password on many sites, adding a number at the end of the password, or just keeping a list on their phones or laptops. “The problem is that all these ‘work-arounds’ just make it easier for hackers to access your information,” he says.
On Tuesday, September 5, at the Ewing Senior and Community Center at 999 Lower Ferry Road, Shinkfield will suggest ways that computer users can manage their passwords more prudently when he presents “Passwords, Passwords and More Passwords!” The 2 p.m. program will be preceded by a 1:30 p.m. question and answer session with Computer Learning Center faculty, when the audience can seek answers to their computer-related questions. Both programs are free. No registration is required.
Alternative ways to create safer passwords, Shinkfield says, include some recent recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. “There is even a website that will help you create safe and memorable passwords; however, those approaches do not help you remember them,” he says. One solution is to use one of several free password management programs available for download, including “Last Pass.” Of that program Shinkfield says: “Last Pass meets many of our password needs — it remembers your passwords, creates new passwords, logs you on automatically, and helps with changing passwords every three months.” The goal is to simplify your passwords and “most importantly, make them much harder to crack,” he says.
Shinkfield has been a volunteer instructor at the Computer Learning Center for more than 10 years. He was previously a managing partner with the PA Consulting Group based in London. During his career at PA Consulting Shinkfield worked in the UK, France, Germany, and finally in the United States, where he has spent the last 40 years.