A novel approach to password management
I have about a million websites that I have to log onto day-to-day. Seriously. And with all the hype about website infiltration and stolen data, it makes me worry a bit about my own usernames and passwords. I have recently upgraded my Google Mail account to use 2-step verification, which I explained a few weeks ago in a Snubs Report, but what about my Facebook? Twitter? My online banking?
These sites all say things like, 'Password must be so-and-so characters long with at least one letter and number,' but some aren't so secure. How will I know what sites will have a data breach? I don't. So I use somewhat different passwords for all sites. But honestly, if someone had the balls and the time to figure out my pattern, they could probably do it. But I don't want to download a password protection program to use on my home computer because I use several different computers and may not have access to the software or my saved encrypted passwords when I'm using a public PC.
Well, there are other options out there if you don't want to use more software, you could use something a little less technical.
This is PasswordCard from passwordcard.org. It's a card the size of a credit card that I can stick in my wallet and carry with me. What makes this unique is the series of random digits and letters that are included on it. The rows are different colors and the columns have a different symbol at the top. You can use this card to think up a very strong and tough password and use the colors and symbols to remember it.
Better yet, each code card is randomly generated and there are Android and iPhone apps.
So here is an example of how to use this tool:
First off, go to the website and print out your unique card. I have a laser black and white printer, but if you have a color printer I'd suggest printing in color to give you more options for remembering passwords.
You can then cut out your card and laminate it if needed. Keep the rest of the page, because it has your unique card number on it. More on that in just a bit.
Then you can choose your password. Choose a symbol and a color or row number and use the letters and numbers that are seen in that row or column.
All you have to do after that is go to your website and change your password. If you lost your PasswordCard, you can go back to the website, type in your unique card number and hit print, or pull it up on your mobile phone. So for example, I printed out my card and I'm going to choose something I would remember. I'll go with the music note, and number 7. So my password would be HAg8kgntQUG.
This tool is super simple to use and completely free. The website can be visited safely via HTTPS and the algorithm used to create the codes is available in case the website goes down and you need to reprint your card.
If you don't feel safe printing a card, just download the free app off the Android Marketplace or the Apple App Store. This app will let you generate a random card or pull up your own card. It'll also let you generate your own personal PasswordCard based on a series of random hexidecimal digits. For example, I can hit enter number, and type in a number that I have memorized. That number will always pull up my card for me to use.
If you're worried that someone can get ahold of your unique card number, not to worry! They still wouldn't have your actual passwords because those were created from the numbers and letters found on the card, and they could be thousands of different password combinations.
I think this is a pretty cool idea, and it's easy enough that I could probably show my mom how to use this. So, enough of using crappy passwords!
This is just one of the tools available out there for password generation. Do you have one? Email it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start programming in Windows Azure
Jason begins a three-part mini-series on programming for Windows Azure. In this part Jason demonstrates how to get started. In coming parts Jason will develop an cloud-based application that maps Kismet KML data to a Bing map.