Managing multiple login passwords “securely”

Published: August 26, 2017 at 10:48 am

Last Updated on October 8, 2023 at 1:46 pm

This year marks twenty years of computer and internet usage for me. In a two-part series, I discuss my experience and learnings on managing multiple passwords (part 1) and computer security (part 2).  From spending the whole day in the IIT, Madras library in the mid-90s to rarely entering it in the 2010s, it has been a sea change in the way I (and all of us) seek and process information.

The need for a password manager: necessity is the mother of clutter.

Initially one could access all parts of a website (including sub-directories!). Soon site owners wanted users to “log in” to use the entire or sections of the site. From having to log in to use e-mail, now more passwords were required. Unfortunately, each website had its own password codes. Some wanted one letter in capital, some a character like $,%,… and so on. When online banking took off, some banks wanted the passwords changed every few months and even insisted that the new password should not resemble the last three passwords! Some AMCs also insist on this.

So the need for a password manager became natural. The most secure password manager is this one:

Photo by Jesse Radonski (Flickr)

Of course, as long as the notebook stays at home (in one place) and so is the computer used to make financial transactions. Sure your dog can eat your notebook or it can be burnt, but when it comes to security (and insurance) we can only consider probability and not possibility. Those who can distinguish probability from possibility can also distinguish paranoia from prudence.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!
🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our robo-advisory tool & courses! 🔥

Security is the cost of Convenience

There is no free lunch. If we want a “convenient” way to “securely” store passwords and login, then it will have to come at the cost of security. Any piece of code, be it human generated or machine generated, can be cracked/hacked by anyone with enough determination. So none of the password managers that we have today are hacker-proof. It is merely sheer dumb luck that I have not been hacked as yet.

For the last 15 years or so, I have been using Roboform to manage my passwords and in the last 9-10 years or so, I have been making online transactions with passwords stored in it. I make no claims that is the best or even good enough. There are many other options which are probably better, but I have no intention to shift as I am used to it.

Initially, Roboform was free to use for storing ten logins with a paid version for unlimited logins. Thanks to competition and emergence of browser based password managers, Roboform is now completely free for personal use with a paid business version. There is a cloud based version which can be used to sync passwords across devices and this costs a small fee.

Roboform (so should others) comes with a so called “master password”. This can be used to unlock access to select logins. This master password is not stored anywhere in the Roboform software. So losing this would mean trouble. I have used my wife’s favorite password as the master password so that she can access the logins in my absence. Any login involving money exchange can be further secured by this master password.  This was the first double authentication I had used prior to the emergence of the mobile.

Now with mobile based authentication at the final stage of the money transfer, I believe such master passwords are not of much use.

In my opinion, double authentication is meaningful only when two separate devices are involved. This is the reason I will never use my mobile for online transactions. Losing a mobile is not just a possibility!

Why not browser-based password managers?

I am of course referring to Chrome and Firefox (most popular choices?). As of now, all my financial transactions logins are in Roboform with a master password. All the rest (Facebook, Gmail, EB bill, Telephone, property tax etc) are all on chrome.

However, I do feel that there is no harm in using browsers to store say, AMC passwords. Suppose the browser is hacked and the password is out in the open (with the login), what is the worst that can happen? I may have to pay tax if the hacker makes a redemption. The money will go to my bank account in T+1 or T+3 days ( I can get this canceled in the meantime as I will get an SMS and email alert). The hacker would then need my bank credentials and mobile phone to access my money. That is just too much of a long shot.

I repeat

Paranoia —-> possibility

Prudence —-> probability

Oh yeah, by the way, I am pro-Aadhaar and supposedly the CIA knows my A-number. How flattering!

The problem with browser based password managers are the updates. Chrome suddenly changed its settings interface and couple of weeks ago. When I managed to get to the password and wanted to change one and clicked on the “eye”, it wanted a windows password!  Users who did not set a windows login password suddenly could not access their own passwords.

Thanks to an outcry in the forums, this was quicked removed in the next update. I have never faced such nonsense with Roboform. Even if the latest version looks completely different from the first version I used, the core settings are the same.

Even though all sites have a “forgot password” link, some do not have a “forgot login id” link. So at least for this,  a cloud-based service is necessary. I will be getting the Roboform Everywhere service (20 USD per year or 50 USD for 3Y or 75 USD for 5Y)

Chrome has this too (free) and it is quite convenient.

By the way, you can have some fun trying to find out how secure your password is with many online tools. Here is a screenshot:


Disclosure: I am NOT affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this or any post here.


Ask Questions with this form

And I will respond to them in the next few days. I welcome tough questions. Please do not ask for investment advice. Before asking, please search the site if the issue has already been discussed. Thank you.  PLEASE DO NOT POST COMMENTS WITH THIS FORM it is for questions only.

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

GameChanger– Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Live The Rich Life You want

My second book, Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantco-authored with Pranav Surya is now available at Amazon as paperback (₹ 199) and Kindle (free in unlimited or ₹ 99 – you could read with their free app on PC/tablet/mobile, no kindle necessary).

It is a book that tells you how to travel anywhere on a budget (eg. to Europe at 50% lower costs) and specific investment advice for young earners.

The ultimate guide to travel by Pranav Surya is a deep dive analysis into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step.  Get the pdf for ₹199 (instant download)

You can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing 

My first book with PV Subramanyam helps you ask the risk questions about money, seek simple solutions and find your own personalised answers with nine online calculator modules.

The book is available at:

Amazon Hardcover Rs. 271. 32% OFF

Infibeam Now just Rs. 270  32% OFF. If you use a mobikwik wallet, and purchase via infibeam, you can get up to 100% cashback!!

Flipkart Rs. 279. 30% off

Kindle at (Rs.271) Read with free app

Google PlayRs. 271 Read on your PC/Tablet/Mobile

Now in Hindi!

Order the Hindi version via this link

Do share this article with your friends using the buttons below.

🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our courses, robo-advisory tool and exclusive investor circle! 🔥& join our community of 5000+ users!
Use our Robo-advisory Tool for a start-to-finish financial plan! More than 1,000 investors and advisors use this!
New Tool! => Track your mutual funds and stock investments with this Google Sheet!
We also publish monthly equity mutual funds, debt and hybrid mutual funds, index funds and ETF screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel. Subscribe button courtesy: Vecteezy.
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel.
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp Channel
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp
Podcast: Let's Get RICH With PATTU! Every single Indian CAN grow their wealth! 
Listen to the Lets Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
Listen to the Let's Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
You can watch podcast episodes on the OfSpin Media Friends YouTube Channel.
Lets Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube
Let's Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube.
🔥Now Watch Let's Get Rich With Pattu தமிழில் (in Tamil)! 🔥
  • Do you have a comment about the above article? Reach out to us on Twitter: @freefincal or @pattufreefincal
  • Have a question? Subscribe to our newsletter using the form below.
  • Hit 'reply' to any email from us! We do not offer personalized investment advice. We can write a detailed article without mentioning your name if you have a generic question.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!

About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
Our flagship course! Learn to manage your portfolio like a pro to achieve your goals regardless of market conditions! More than 3,000 investors and advisors are part of our exclusive community! Get clarity on how to plan for your goals and achieve the necessary corpus no matter the market condition is!! Watch the first lecture for free!  One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos! Reduce fear, uncertainty and doubt while investing! Learn how to plan for your goals before and after retirement with confidence.
Our new course!  Increase your income by getting people to pay for your skills! More than 700 salaried employees, entrepreneurs and financial advisors are part of our exclusive community! Learn how to get people to pay for your skills! Whether you are a professional or small business owner who wants more clients via online visibility or a salaried person wanting a side income or passive income, we will show you how to achieve this by showcasing your skills and building a community that trusts and pays you! (watch 1st lecture for free). One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos!   
Our new book for kids: “Chinchu Gets a Superpower!” is now available!
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower
Both the boy and girl-version covers of "Chinchu Gets a superpower".
Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So, in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it, as well as teaching him several key ideas of decision-making and money management, is the narrative. What readers say!
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower (small version)
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower!
Must-read book even for adults! This is something that every parent should teach their kids right from their young age. The importance of money management and decision making based on their wants and needs. Very nicely written in simple terms. - Arun.
Buy the book: Chinchu gets a superpower for your child!
How to profit from content writing: Our new ebook is for those interested in getting side income via content writing. It is available at a 50% discount for Rs. 500 only!
Do you want to check if the market is overvalued or undervalued? Use our market valuation tool (it will work with any index!), or get the Tactical Buy/Sell timing tool!
We publish monthly mutual fund screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
About freefincal & its content policy. Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance developments. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. Follow us on Google News. Freefincal serves more than three million readers a year (5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified with credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions will be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Connect with us on social media
Our publications

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingPublished by CNBC TV18, this book is meant to help you ask the right questions and seek the correct answers, and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You Want Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantThis book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at a low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner.

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover-new This is an in-depth dive into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, and how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically, with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step. Get the pdf for Rs 300 (instant download)