Password Manager vs Password Book

There are times when using a notebook for your passwords makes sense, and there are times when using a password manager makes sense. 

This article will teach you if a password book is safer then a password manager. Learn when a password manager is safer and better. And see why a password book works better for some. 

Password Manager vs. Paper – Benefits of Paper

The great thing about using paper or a password book is that it’s hard to hack into. The paper is local only to you, and you can even hide it in your home. No hacker is getting to that thing through the internet that is for sure. 

The most significant benefit to a notebook full of passwords is that its easy to understand. You’ve been writing your whole life and understanding what you wrote is easy. So it only makes sense to keep a notebook of passwords on the ready.

Not only that but love ones could find it and know what your passwords are in case you can’t. 

There is going to be people in your life where a notebook of passwords is the only option. I’m talking about grandparents or anyone who doesn’t care enough about technology. A notebook of passwords is the only way for them, and you must respect that. So long as they use unique passwords for every account and can keep it organized they’ll be fine.

Downside of a Password Book

The biggest downside to a password book is that you’re human. It’s not a personal attack, but humans are just bad at passwords. 

Let me explain in the next section.

Default Passwords

When asked to come up with a password we always default to the first thing that comes to mind. The usual things that come to mind are our kids or pets name. With 7 billion people on Earth, it’s not too uncommon to have people and pets with the same name.

We also think we’re clever when we’re not. When told we need to use a number we often go with “123” or “098” or our lucky number which so happens that many people pick the same number. We often pick the same special character too!

None of that is as bad as password reuse. Even with a notebook for passwords we often find ourselves still reusing passwords. Password reuse is the number one issue we face with passwords. It’s hard coming up with a password at the moment when you just want into that site and don’t want to be bothered with such things. 

The reason password reuse is so bad is due to other sites getting breached. So many people reuse passwords that the hackers will take the logins from one breach and try it on other sites. This is call credential stuffing, and it’s super effective.

The Biggest Issue

A big issue with password reuse is that the people who do it don’t realize how bad it is. They’ll have a few passwords and each for different levels of security. The lowest level will often be reused all the time because the thinking is “who would want to hack this account?

The problem with that thinking is that you never know if that account will become important over time or you may enter a credit card on that account or similar that has the same password. Also, what you deem not valuable could be very valuable to someone else. 

One example of this is to hack into Reddit accounts. The average user doesn’t see this account as vital because it’s not tied to them. The hackers want the accounts to manipulate what makes it to the front page to drive clicks to make more money. Getting accounts with age on them that look legit is very valuable. The person whose account that was hacked is now pissed because they have to start a new. So that account at first didn’t seem essential but slowly became important, and it’s only after the fact you realize it.

Another Reason Password Books Are Bad

Sloppy handwriting and not being organized. 

I know there are some of you who have excellent handwriting and super organized. But the mass majority is not. 

I have family who uses notebooks for their passwords, and even though it’s written down, they don’t know where in the book it is. They don’t know if its this or that password.

At the moment they don’t care, write it down and move on is the thinking when creating a new account.

You end up with a system that is not only worse but hard to understand with sloppy hand writing and disorganization. Why make your life any harder then it needs to be?

Why A Password Manager Makes Sense

A password manager solves all the issues we had with a password book. 

A password manager can generate unique passwords for every account. Store the passwords in an app that is easy to find. The password manager can even auto-fill the passwords making our lives even more manageable. 

A password manager is the best solution to this problem, but yet people still refuse to use them. 

People Don’t Trust Password Managers

The biggest reason people don’t like password managers is that they don’t trust them. It’s not a trust issue if you ask me, but a misunderstanding of how they work.

I’ve created this article to prove you can trust password managers by showing you how they work. I highly recommend you read that article and even leave a comment if you have more questions on the topic.

When Not To Use A Password Manager?

There are times when it makes sense not to use a password manager and to use a notebook instead. 

If you’re worried about using a password manager, I would say a good compromise is to keep your banking and email passwords out of it. These accounts are super important, and I can’t hold it against you for not wanting them in a password manager. 

For your everyday accounts like Twitter, Reddit, etc. it’s okay to use a password manager for them. 

If you need a password book you can get them here (Ad).

One More Thing

Before I end this article, I want to say that no matter what you should be striving to keep your computer virus-free. Use anti-virus software and avoid shady sites. Not only that but keep your computer up to date with all software updates. 

It won’t matter if you use a password manager or a notebook if your computer is compromised. 

You might be wondering how they would be able to compromise your notebook? 

There are several ways. One way is to take a picture of it with the webcam on your computer. This is not always effective but possible. 

The more probable way is to sit and wait till you type it in. That’s the thing with using a notebook for passwords, at some point you still need to enter them into your computer. Even worse is someone who is more likely to use a notebook for passwords is not as tech literate and might be unaware of a computer infection so the virus could go years undetected scooping up passwords.

3 thoughts on “Password Manager vs Password Book”

  1. I admit to not ever having used a proper password book or met someone who does. I do know that these things exist, for I have seen them listed on Amazon. I only mention Amazon here because these things are not easy to get hold of even if you wanted one, not in Europe anyway, but maybe in America. You can’t just walk into any office store and ask to be pointed to the “Password Book” department. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a properly lined “password book”, a small notebook with blank pages can suffice. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I first discovered that such things do exist. I was impressed by the beautiful designs and I can imagine myself getting one, for I do love working with paper and some of the designs I saw on Amazon were true works of art. I should get one just for the looks of it.

    This alone, I think, reflects the difference between me and your average password jotter. A regular notebook is not enough; only the best kind of book is good enough for my password needs. In reference to staying organized! I never did get that book from Amazon, but this brings me back to the point I’m trying to make here. I suspect that any person who feels this need to buy and dedicate a whole notebook for safekeeping their passwords is also disciplined enough to do this properly.

    So I don’t use a password book, but I did suggested to a friend of mine once that he should buy a small notebook for keeping his passwords safe. Now, context is everything. So the context here was that I only suggested this after having spent the last two months on restoring access to his long lost and forgotten Facebook account. I had to endure sifting through the little bits and pieces of information and disinformation that he could recall from the deepest corners of his clouded mind or read back from his various paper notes he had laying around the house. I not only had to do this for his Facebook account but also for his Google and his Hotmail account, which I had to restore access to first before I could get his Facebook account back from the dead. I didn’t get his Google account back, but I got his Hotmail account back and with it also his Facebook account.

    I didn’t get as much as a thank you for doing this great favor, for someone who is not a close friend of mine, but someone I do support in various ways and in times of need. You have to understand that this is a person that’s mentally ill, and that alone was reason enough for me to help out. This was a new experience for me, and I have learned quite a lot in the process. It’s the first time ever that I have spent this amount of time and dedication in helping someone get their account back, and all because they could not bothered to write it down, or they could not remember their password even if their life depended on it.

    So do you think he learned his lesson and bought that password book I suggested? Of course not, for I was the one learning his lesson. There’s nothing like the lessons you learn by experiencing things on your own skin. He still keeps his Facebook and other important passwords and PINs on a small piece of paper that he tucks away inside his wallet style smartphone case. He says he also has it written down in a “notebook” at home. I haven’t seen this notebook, but knowing what I know, I suspect it’s yet another piece of paper he tucked away somewhere. Some people just never learn, and in some cases no password manager or password book can help. They need a living person looking after them and taking care of their online business.

    While I don’t use password books, it’s not a bad idea to have a hard copy of your passwords. You should be able to print out your passwords from the password manager and store it in a safe place. You never know if that company that makes your password manager will be in business in the next 10 years, let alone in 50 or 100 years. This is especially something you should be concerned about if it’s a proprietary product using proprietary formats and other secret technologies. You want to be able to read that in a distant future, perhaps past your own lifetime. By comparison, paper is timeless.

  2. Why not just let your browser(s) take care of your passwords, and pepper them?

    The big downside I can think of is that you may not be able to share your passwords easily between browsers (I use 3) and devices (I regularly use 4).

    But for someone using a single browser that allows passwords to be shared across devices, is that perhaps good enough?

    • It’s not ideal because some browsers will save the “un-saved” passwords, which would contain the pepper and defeat the whole point. Also, some browsers don’t do end-to-end encryption of passwords. It’s best to stick with a real password manager or password book.


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