Use Nostalgic "Keys" To Encrypt Files And Remember Passwords

Reader Ron Adams liked the idea of a mentally encrypted password card system, because it's similar to one he's been using for years to encrypt files and give each one a secure but memorable unlocking key. Here's how his scheme works.

Photo by woodleywonderworks.

I use a different method that works well for my passwords. I've created four keys that I add to filenames. These keys provide me with my password. As a (hypothetical) example:

  • "#" may signify house number of a home address as a younger child. Let's say that address is "12131"... something I would remember.
  • "6" may signify the "aeolian" scale in music.
  • "pn" signifies a phone number back in the '60s that I remember... "FO34344"
  • "16" signifies grades 1-6 which is the name of my elementary school... "stanley"

So I place these codes in my file names. For example, I have an encrypted PDF called 6#16_ObeyObama.pdf. The password for this pdf is "aeolian12131stanley". Everyone can make their own keys, switch the keys to change the password. It works great for me!

Ed. note: Ron's system works particularly well for files, but for websites that offer to show "Password hints" or reminders or allow for custom usernames, his memorised keys might come in handy, too.


    @Posco Grubb
    haha HomeStarRunner win! I love that episode.
    **flagrant system error**

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