Researchers at the University of Calif. in Santa Barbara found that 38 percent of identities stolen by a malicious kind of software known as the Torpig botnet were obtained because the users had “auto fill” turned on. Auto fill is a feature on most browsers that saves you the trouble of entering your login code and password every time you go back to a site you’ve visited before. If you’re not careful, it stores them all.

 If you want, you can go to the “options” tab in any of the many browsers we looked at and remove all the stored passwords. You can also click on a box that will stop them from being saved again. But then how would you remember them all?

 We’ve been trying out a $30 Password Manager from Large Software. It makes it easy to create an encrypted database of passwords that can be locked when you’re away from your desk. It also generates strong passwords automatically. A strong password is one that uses a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols, which makes it hard to guess. At download.com you can find other password managers, such as Roboform. But we found Password Manager particularly easy to use, and it comes with a portable version for your memory stick or thumb drive. There’s a free trial at largesoftware.com.

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