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  #1  
Old 07-13-2011, 02:25 PM
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File security ideas?

I have a file on my PC with passwords and user names for utilities, credit union, credit cards etc. I know most of them by heart but should something happen to me I want a way for her to access them. I figured the file was the best way but that leaves it open to theft should the PC be stolen. I have a paper copy in the fire safe but that is not very secure either as it's just a fire safe not a heavy duty one (on the list to get but not sure when). I thought about on line storage but my Yahoo account was hacked (according to Yahoo) so that seems risky as well. A thumb drive is secure but can be lost easily (I tend to be forgetful).

So I was now thinking of some sort of easy encryption software. Any ideas for a descent one (free ware would be nice) or does anyone have any better ideas?
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:28 PM
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I'm pretty old fashioned - you can ask a bank here to look after an envelope for you for a small fee.
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  #3  
Old 07-13-2011, 02:34 PM
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Well googling file encryption brings up a good amount of stuff. You also need better passwords. Letters, numbers, and ASCII symbols in the same mix can be incredibly strong to a brute force and other attacks.
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:49 PM
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I'd go so far as to change the passwords completely and put a paper copy in a safe deposit box and have it noted in your will along with the key location if it's not information you want her to have right now. Otherwise, just tell her if she ever needed these passwords, they're in a safe deposit box and here's a key.
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2011, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDon View Post
Well googling file encryption brings up a good amount of stuff. You also need better passwords. Letters, numbers, and ASCII symbols in the same mix can be incredibly strong to a brute force and other attacks.
That's all fine and dandy but then we are back tot he file security thing. I'll need regular access tot eh file because I cannot remember random letter/number/symbol type passwords for all the various on line accounts I have.

Has anyone had any experience with any encryption programs? Do you have one you like?
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2014 C250 21,XXX my new DD ** 2013 GLK 350 18,000 Wife's new DD**

- With out god, life is everything.
- God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller as time moves on..." Neil DeGrasse Tyson
- You can pray for me, I'll think for you.
- When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:56 PM
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Fancy passwords for encryption can be as simple as taking an easy to remember sentence and using the first letters of each word of the sentence as the pw.

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  #7  
Old 07-13-2011, 03:26 PM
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If you ever lose the passwords, chances are they can be recovered by clicking various forms of "forgot password" links.
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2011, 04:12 PM
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OK, perhaps I am not being clear.

I have a file on my PC. It has all my passwords and user names. There are times when I forget one. Without having to have them email it to me and then having to reset my pass word I would rather just have the file remain on my PC and have it encrypted. If it is stolen they will not be able to access it with out the key. This way I really only need to remember one password rather than many.

Also, there are times when my wife atually wants to look at the bank accounts or might need some info. If I'm not available she can enter the the encrypted file and gain access.
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2014 C250 21,XXX my new DD ** 2013 GLK 350 18,000 Wife's new DD**

- With out god, life is everything.
- God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller as time moves on..." Neil DeGrasse Tyson
- You can pray for me, I'll think for you.
- When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2011, 04:30 PM
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If you want to encrypt one file, how about using 7-Zip? In addition to compression, it also has encryption. The price is right.

Of course, use a good password with it!
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2011, 08:06 PM
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Windows XP pro and up have built-in encryption utilities: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Encrypt-or-decrypt-a-folder-or-file

You can also password protect without encrypting.

It's not the passwords themselves that vulnerable, it's the association of a password, a username and the account to which they relate. You can a take a page from the old Mad Magazine fold-outs to try to mask the linkage.

Depending on complexity you can do a few things like three separate text files that you line up, or a table with fake columns in between real ones, or something like over-one-column-and-down-one-row, then over and down again.

Making a document easy to use but also secure is a tradeoff. If it's easy for you, it's easy for others; hard for others, hard for you.
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  #11  
Old 07-13-2011, 11:19 PM
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Put it on a thumb drive and keep it with a paper copy in your file cabinet.
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  #12  
Old 07-14-2011, 12:35 AM
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TrueCrypt...

I use this software to keep confidential records of my tenants (i.e. their Credit Reports): http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/

This easy to use software will create a hidden storage volume - that is: it will add a new drive letter (i.e. D:/) to your file system when you set it up and mount it (open it up). When you 'mount it' or start it, it will open up a new drive letter on your file system into which you can stuff any file, folders, images, and anything else you want to keep encrypted and safe from prying eyes. I believe it uses strong encryption technology.

When you 'unmount' it, or close it, it will simply disappear from your file system. Research it - it's worth it I think and it is free...

For all my passwords I use a free utility called Keepass: http://sourceforge.net/projects/keepass/ - this fantastic little utility is very easy to use. I work as a consultant so I am required to keep track of I would guess 70-75 different passwords to support my clients. In addition, there are lots of personal passwords from user groups, forums, on-line banking and anytime I sign up to a new forum to try it... This utility lets you categorize them in an easy and meaningful way and you can Search it quickly to find what you need. The password vault is encrypted so it's safe. The tool will even generate strong passwords for you so you don't end up with 'abc123' on everything... Once you start using this little tool, you'll forget all about your file full of passwords - unless you really wanna keep it 'old school'... hehe

Good luck -
James
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  #13  
Old 07-14-2011, 12:55 AM
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Cool. I like these ideas Merc. I'll have to check them out tomorrow.

Thanks
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Sent from an agnostic abacus

2014 C250 21,XXX my new DD ** 2013 GLK 350 18,000 Wife's new DD**

- With out god, life is everything.
- God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller as time moves on..." Neil DeGrasse Tyson
- You can pray for me, I'll think for you.
- When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
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  #14  
Old 07-14-2011, 01:04 AM
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The biggest problem you'll have with computer based encryption is that the US government wants all legally available stuff to be crackable - which means to be coded to a standard to which they can easily decode it - this intrinsically means it is unsafe as crackers tend to be cleverer than the government... well they're the ones playing catch up.
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1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
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1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior



Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #15  
Old 07-14-2011, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Army View Post
The biggest problem you'll have with computer based encryption is that the US government wants all legally available stuff to be crackable - which means to be coded to a standard to which they can easily decode it - this intrinsically means it is unsafe as crackers tend to be cleverer than the government... well they're the ones playing catch up.
Like with anything... it takes resources (time and money) to crack the code. With that, it becomes a question of value: why would anyone want to spend a $$$ to get at that file - is it more valuable than $$$? I would think in a case of you and me the answer is usually no...
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