As I have done several times this past year, I spent some time this weekend volunteering at my local library shelving donated books for an upcoming book sale which will raise funds for the library. During this process I had a new, entertaining experience.
I prepare the donated books to be in their best condition. For example, I unfold dog-eared pages and pull out paperclips and other make-shift bookmarks. During this step this weekend I removed a set of stapled, folded pages of 8.5″ x 11″ paper from a book. The pages were printed dual-sided with a 2-column table. Upon closer inspection, each row of the table held the user name, password, security questions and their answers for various accounts. With only the quick glance I gave it, I saw banks, email, and other accounts all listed in the clear.
When identity theft is made so very easy, it was simple to find who the list belonged to. The library called them to return the password sheet to the shocked but appreciative donor.
Somewhat fitting with recent governmental violations of privacy, the password list was acting as a bookmark for the book The Secret History of the CIA.
If you can’t remember your passwords, you have to at least remember where you wrote them down and what you did with the list. This is just another example of why the Password Minder product was such a bad idea. I use KeePass as a secure password database. Even if the database did get left behind, it is encrypted and secured with a strong password.