Dear White House staff: Get a password manager!

Dear White House staff: Get a password manager!

One staff member at the American White House just demonstrated that there is one thing less secure than the sticky-note system of password management – and that’s leaving your passwords on work stationary … and leaving this paper at the bus stop.

Saving staffer Ryan

Yes, White House staffer Ryan P. McAvoy did just that — left his account name and password at the bus stop. The good news is that the misplaced passwords did not lead to a breach of confidential information from the White House. However, it did make a number of people wonder just what this man was doing using an encrypted chat service. It also makes you wonder what devices Ryan is using that he can’t safely encrypt and transfer the password between them.

Stuck on the sticky-note system

The sticky-note system is simple. Have the passwords written on a bit of paper, preferably a note with adhesive on one side. Unless both the account name and password are on the same paper, it is moderately secure if stuck onto your home computer. If both name and account are on the same paper – it is not so secure. Add in the work address – as did Ryan – and it’s even less so. Enter this data into a web browser and you can find out a lot about the individual. That was a lot of Personal Identifiable Information for Ryan to leave behind at the bus stop.

Perhaps he should try a password manager

It’s clear that Ryan needs a password manager. It is a reasonable guess that he needs one which will works on Windows, iOS, and Android — and let him synchronize his passwords between devices. Something like the Avira Password Manager. If he tries it, we would be pleased. Of course, we aren’t expecting him to advertise his choice at the next White House press conference.

As a PR Consultant and journalist, Frink has covered IT security issues for a number of security software firms, as well as provided reviews and insight on the beer and automotive industries (but usually not at the same time). Otherwise, he’s known for making a great bowl of popcorn and extraordinary messes in a kitchen.