On September 6th, 2008 milburn wrote…

Remembering Passwords

Remembering passwords is really difficult. No one has a different password for every site or machine they log into because no one can remember that many passwords easily. Is having the same password for every account good practise? We all know the answer to that question.

I have about five different passwords. I have a general password which I use for all the sites which aren’t very important and don’t store important details. I have another password for trusted sites and shops which store more information. I have a stronger password which I use for my bank account, I have a different password for my email and web hosting. Finally, my computer has a unique password.

I can remember 5 passwords and every year I make sure that I go around and change them to something new. Unfortunately, some passwords I can’t change. Nor can I remember them because they are so complicated. What should I do?

The obvious thing would be to get a sheet of paper or a new document and write them all out. That’s not great though for several reasons. Firstly if someone finds this document or sheet of paper all the passwords are theirs. Secondly, if my house gets flooded or my hard disk fails I’ve lost them all.

If the passwords are on your hard disk, a regular backup can solve one problem but makes the other a lot worse. Now you’ve got loads of disks which can be found by someone and have the passwords extracted from.

My solution is steganography and encryption. There are loads of programs out there which will encrypt your files. These are great but you need some extra protection. This is where steganography comes in. Encrypt your file using the program of your choice then change the file name and give it a different extension. Anyone looking through your files will have a hard time trying to find where you store your passwords (passwords.doc is rather obvious).

My last tip is don’t rely on your internet browser to save your passwords. They are all stored completely unencrypted and in the same place, perfect prey for malicious software and nosy friends!

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2 Responses to “Remembering Passwords”

  1. On October 29th, 2008 Rox said…

    What do you suggest for those that have 100 passwords plus. Are you suggesting that RoboForm(the password manager software of choice for most IM’s) is not secure. Would you please share why?

  2. On October 29th, 2008 milburn said…

    @Rox

    RoboForm is a good way of storing passwords since it uses strong encryption to encrypt your passwords as opposed to most browsers which store passwords as clear text.

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