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Vince asked: “Is it safe to create a word document that is password protected, to have all my passwords in it, that I can look at on my smartphone?”
Vince, current versions of Word use 128-bit AES encryption, which should be secure enough for most people.
A big thing to consider is that the encryption will only be as solid as your password, if you choose a password that will be easily guessed, it’s as good as not having a password. Choose something complex with special characters. Most important is password length and not using common words or phrases.
Word files have typically also been more susceptible to brute force attacks. Unlike some other other services and password managers, Word files generally let users keep trying to get the password right. That means that a computer or a set of computers can be set to keep trying to open the file with random characters until they get it right.
For the level of encryption that modern Word uses, unless you’re using a common password, an attack like that would take such a long time that It’d be basically useless, but it’s still something to consider when choosing where to store your passwords.
Keep in mind that there are password managers you can use for free, if you’re interested in a product that can live in your smartphone and is built to keep your passwords private. As well as create new passwords for you that are incredibly secure. We’re talking twice the lifetime of the universe to crack!