You may remember us talking about varying levels of password security. But memorizing passwords can be a daunting task. To put your brain at ease, you should consider using a system for storing your passwords securely. This brief article will describe a few simple methods involved with storing and remembering your passwords.
Method 1 – Password Storage Programs
Password storage programs, such as KeePass, are capable of storing passwords in an encrypted fashion. To access any password, you simply need to unlock the program with a single passphrase (make it a good one!). The benefits of this are that your passwords are always encrypted until you need it. Remembering a single password for the program will grant you access to all your passwords for other programs. This, however, is also the negative side of these programs. If your one password for the program is compromised, then the hacker will have access to all of your other passwords.
Method 2 – Plain Text Files
Many people put all of their passwords into text files. This has the benefit of being easy to reach, but the disadvantage of being unencrypted. Encrypting this file with PGP, 7-Zip, etc, etc, will mitigate much of the risk, but will require you to enter a password to decrypt the file; putting you right back at Method 1 above. One additional risk is that many compression programs that do encryption (Zip, rar, etc) will often leave copies of decrypted files in Temporary folders.
Method 3 – Pen and Paper
Yep, you read it right. Plain ol’ pen and paper. This has the advantage of being completely offline. If your office environment is trustworthy (or you have a drawer with a lock), this is a great way of keeping track of passwords. Being offline means it is impossible to “hack” in and get this information. As long as your office is secure, the only disadvantage is being unable to copy and paste passwords.