simple cipher

Passwords and Secret Codes

We now have to reset a large number of passwords. The goal is to create passwords that are so complex that you’d never guess them. Except if they are that strong, you have zero chance of remembering them.

You could use a password tool. These work very well for some people.

Most of you already know that I’m paranoid, and a single point of failure concerns me. They’re good tools. Use them if you are comfortable with them.

If not — maybe you’d like to go with something a little more old-school.

Remember codes? Rememeber creating a secret code with your friend? That was fun. I’m going to give you an example of a method similar to the one I use. No, it isn’t the same. Because — remember — I’m paranoid.simple cipher

  1. First, start with a phrase that is at least 26 characters long without spaces. Something with sympols works. Make it something you will remember — like your favorite Bible verse.
  2. Next, make a chart for yourself with all of the characters and sympols. Say you’ve decided to use John 3:16 — For God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
  3. For each location that you need a password for, pick a phrase that you can remember, something unique. For Facebook it might be, “I wish Facebook would stay the same”
  4. Drop the spaces (important!) and encode it — letting the capitals be the same as in your code. Like this:
    FhFv6:Jh3ossrhsdGnveJwe63vJo3

You can vary the length as needed.

And yes, you could double encode it or add special quirks.

Remember: you don’t have to be able to decode the password, just encode it.

Then make sure that you don’t forget your cipher. You can even carry it around in your wallet like a little encouragement card. If you don’t make it LOOK like a cipher, no one will know that it IS the key to your life.

Can this be broken? Of course it can. Any password can be broken, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. All it takes is a good key scraping program — which can be purchased on the internet. But if you do it right, it will be unique and as strong as most random character generated passwords and you’ll have a chance of remembering it. You can even write the phrases down in a book without fear of it falling into the wrong hands, because the phrases won’t work until they’ve been encoded.

Have fun finding a secret code that is all your own.

Additional tip: enable two-step verification whenever possible. And make sure to include a backup device in case your phone gets lost or stolen.

Disclaimer: if you use this method and something bad happens, don’t sue me. No method is foolproof.