The Most Common Hiding Places for Workplace 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 Phone. A surprising number of people still keep their passwords tacked to the underside of their desk phone or its receiver. The people who usually put their passwords here think they’re being smart and stealthy, but in reality taping a yellow post-it note to the underside of your phone just screams "passwords here!"

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.

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