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How to remember passwords (and which ones you should)

Joe Kissell | Nov. 29, 2012
No matter what tools you use, you’ll have to memorize at least a few passwords, you don’t want to trade security for memorability. Here a few tips that can help you make sure your brain doesn’t betray you.

Have a backup plan (or two)

If, despite choosing memorable or pronounceable options for your top few passwords, youre afraid you might forget them, writing them down on paper is not a terrible ideaas long as you keep that paper in a safe place. Obviously, a sticky note on your computer is not very safe, but your wallet might be an excellent location (and is precisely the recommendation of security expert Bruce Schneier). If youre especially paranoid, you might obfuscate them in some way, such as swapping the first and last charactersbut of course, if you forget how you altered them, youve done yourself a disservice.

Finally, consider giving a copy of that paper to your spouse or a trusted friend, or putting it in a safe deposit box. If something were to happen to you, and your family or business associates urgently needed access to your data, the security of having your passwords stored only in your head would work against you. Just be sure that whoever holds your passwords keeps them as safe as you do yourself.


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