Passwords have been used as a safeguard against others obtaining information throughout history. The less people who know a passcode or phrase, the more secure the information becomes and the less likely it will ever turn into public knowledge.
During the course of history, in order for a password to be secure, it was always recommended to not write the code or phrase down. If someone else happened to see the password, because you wrote it down, it would be much easier for them to gain access into the very area you didn’t want them to be.
With the advent of the internet, and the ability to store everything online, you might think your information is secure. However, there are people out there who want nothing more than to still gain access to the information you hold most private.
In the digital age we live in now, even if you have your password in a secure location online, almost any site can be hacked into and your information which you thought was secure is no longer protected.
So, how can you keep your information secure? Within this article, I am going to explore a few different ways for you to keep your passwords safe using a couple of old school, offline methods.
Should I Write Down My Passwords?
Although we have evolved from the times of parchment paper and quill pens, there is something to the idea of still writing down information on a piece of paper. Although this was not a great idea even thirty years ago, it does have some merit today.
With computer hackers always attacking various sites, it is impossible for them to reach out of the computer and grab the notebook. In this way, it would be safer.
However, there are some flaws with this method. The most notable is that your notebook could be stolen or lost. If this is the only copy you have of your usernames or passwords, then you would be in a lot of trouble to track down all of this information again to set up new passwords.
Although this is doable, research shows the average person will have up to 90 different sites they need a username and password for in the year 2020. There is no way you will know what all of the sites are that you have information stored on, so you are bound to lose or give away some information unintentionally.
Another thing to be wary of is the use of the camera on your laptop or monitor screen. Although having a camera is a great function, a computer hacker can potentially turn on the camera and then be able to see anything the camera sees.
If you happen to have the information just lying around, they can actually take a screen shot, and now they will have your information without you even knowing they have it.
Tips for Those Who Store Passwords on Paper
If you are insistent that you need to have them written down, here are a few tips on how to fool others into thinking they have your information, but in reality they only have part of it.
- Use a password phrase that is backwards – For example, if your password is the word “password” (which, it should never be), then you can change this up a bit. You can write down the word password, knowing you are going to change it to where it reads backwards, and becomes “drowssap.”
- Write yourself a hint as to what your username and password are. This way, you don’t write down the exact phrase, but it should be something which only you know. For example, don’t make your password the name of your first child, and as your hint, write “name of first child.” If you use the name of your child, put in something that reminds you of them, like “daisies” or “bacon.”
- Some people like to put a word down, but know that it only contains the password within the word. For example, you might write “black velvet,” but know that your password only contains the non-vowels within this word, so the password then would be “blckvlvt.”
There are other, and more complicated, methods to create a cipher, so you can work on one that suits your needs. There are plenty of ideas online, and some are easier to work with than others.
This includes everything from using Invisible Ink to creating a whole new language which only you understand. However, reading other people’s ideas might spark an idea for you which you use and ensure your information stays secure.
Just remember, when writing down your password offline, your password should be something which you will know right away, but you make it very difficult for someone else to figure out in case it ever falls into the wrong hands.
Lastly, you should never keep just one copy of this list. You should secure a second list somewhere, in case this list ever does get lost. For obvious reasons, they should not be kept in the same exact location, but only you and maybe a loved one should know where it is.
The old adage from before is still true – the less people who know the passcode (and where to find it), the more secure it will be.
Offline Options That Don’t Involve Paper
Because the idea is to store it offline, you truly are limited to non-technological ideas. While you could potentially store your passwords digitally in a file that’s never opened on a computer with an internet connection, that is easier said than done. There are a couple of other solutions to consider though.
The first would be to use passwords which can be found in things within your home office. If you happen to have a lot of pictures or art up in your office, you can certainly use words found within or words which are inspired by these pieces.
It could be a little tricky on remembering which password goes with what website, but this method would be very hard for anyone else to crack.
The second idea would be to use your memory. The reason a lot of people ask the computer to remember their password is so they don’t have to. This is why you might also write it down.
However, if you really want to protect your password, there is something to be said towards using the muscle which powers all of your own thoughts and memories. It would take work, but then you know your passwords would be as secure as possible, as no one would be able to extract that information unless you decided to tell them.
When it comes to passwords, we have centuries worth of data to show how hard it is to keep things safe and secure from others. Some methods work better than others; what you need to find is the offline method which will work best for you while keeping your information as secure as possible.
Once you find this method, you’ll then know that your information is as secure as it possibly can be. With new technology always comes new problems and solutions.
Hopefully you will find a method which can be adaptable and will allow your information to stay safe from others and allow you to enjoy the time you spend online.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.