The silliest and most common hiding places for passwords

When I was an IT admin, I had the pleasure of dealing often with people who would submit urgent service requests and then leave for the day, leaving their office empty and computer locked by the time I could get there to help. Fortunately, I was often able to fix their problem while they weren’t there. Why? Their password was somewhere on their desk in one of these easy-to-find locations.

Under the Keyboard. This is a pretty common one, and one of the first places to look if you need to find someone’s password (or one of the first places to avoid if you need to jot down an often-used but difficult to remember password.) The worst offenders leave them on a post-it on their keyboard tray, or under the spot where their keyboard lives. Others attach the post-it to the underside of the keyboard, thinking it’s better hidden there. In both cases, it’s a sure bet that anything under the keyboard will have a password on it…

Under the Mouse Pad. This is another common hiding place for people who don’t want to put their passwords under their keyboard. They’ll usually slide a couple of sheets of paper under the mousepad with their usernames and passwords on it and refer to them when they forget, or update them when their password expires…

Under the Desk. One of the most disturbingly common spots many officer workers hide their passwords is one of the easiest to find: right under their desk surface. Just sit down at their desk and put your hand directly under the desktop, and you’ll often find yet another post-it note attached there. Most people who do this operate under the assumption that no one’s ever under their desk to see or notice such a thing—except the IT admin or help desk tech they call when they’ve jostled the Ethernet cable loose from the back of their desktop…

I haven’t even posted half of the silly places people think are secure in the world of prairie-dog cubicles. If you’re guilty of any of these, go apologize in advance to your network administrator. You may have compromised everything that should be secure. And if your password is “1-2-3-4-5” – quit your job and go back to flipping burgers for a living.

So where should you store your passwords? RTFA for a couple of suggestions.

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