This post is so desperately geeky that most of you will not care in the slightest. But some will, so here goes. 🙂
I regularly use 10-15 passwords for different accounts, and I need to be aware of the passwords for approximately 35 passwords. I made the vast majority of those passwords by flopping my hand on the keyboard, so they tend to look like this: q2c*e456 . Those are hard to remember. I think I have 5 memorized. But even at that, it’s easier to keep them written down in a file, and copy and paste them into the password field.
But I don’t want to keep a bunch of passwords lying around for someone to scam. So here’s what I did.
I have GnuPG on my machine, which is encryption software. It can encrypt any file on my computer, all I have to do is type
gpg --encrypt filename
and it takes care of it. It actually makes a copy called something like filename.gpg and leaves the original, so I need to remember to delete the original unencrypted version.
When I want to see the contents of the file, I simply type in
gpg --decrypt filename.gpg
and it prints the contents to the screen buffer. That works great for text files. If you’re encrypt a binary file, you simply pipe it to an application.
Now, since I don’t want to type all that every time, I made an alias in my .bashrc that looks something like this:
alias showpass='gpg --decrypt passwd.gpg'
Now I just bring up a terminal window, type in showpass, and it asks me for my passphrase. Once I enter it properly, it prints the passwords to the screen buffer for easy copy and paste.
I actually use this for several different kinds of data. I don’t have a corporate credit card, so when I want to buy something for business, I have to use the card of a co-worker. I actually use the card of whomever happens to be handy, but rather than make them give me the data every time, I keep them on file. I have all the data for about 4 credit cards. When I need one, all I have to do is call the owner and get permission and then I’m set. Since the data is all encrypted, I’m only slightly worried about it. I’m crazy fanatical about my passphrase, it would take a Cray a zillion years to crack it. 🙂