29A client called me last month and explained that an employee he recently fired, refused to provide him with the password to get into an important Excel worksheet. 10 minutes later my client was browsing through the spreadsheet and pulling out the information he needed for his business deal. Pretty impressive, eh?

Not so much, if you know about a company called Passware. Simply navigate to http://lostpassword.com, place your online order for $19 to $39, download the software, and minutes later it will tell you the “secret” password needed to get into your file!

No such problem with Excel? How about password protected MS Word, Acrobat PDF’s, MS Access, MS Money, Windows, Quicken, QuickBooks, protected Zip files, or one of over 200 other programs and file types? Yep – Passware.

So the good news is that you are no longer going to be held hostage to someone locking you out of your own software. The bad news is that anyone else in the world who knows about this, can also get into it.  

The second part of this tip is to never rely solely on passwords if you want to keep something private. Carefully consider who has access to the information and what you can do to better manage that access.