Paper based password management systems

What? Passwords on paper? Isn’t that a NO-NO? Well yes, but a couple of interesting password management systems could still be useful here. And where do you keep that paper? Well, in your wallet, if you are one of those people who are good at securing their wallet!

Password Card

Password Card

Password Card Generator is a tool which allows you to generate a password card which is about the size of a credit card. It contains 12 rows and 26 alphabets as columns. To create a password, take each letter of the account\website you want to create a password for and then take the corresponding code from the table. You can design any scheme for yourself. For e.g. you can combine your account\website name + user name to generate a password. Say you want to generate a password for your amazon account and your username\login is [email protected], you can take your base string as “amazonxyzabc“. Now for each letter in this base string, pick up a character from each row in the above table. So our password will be “&BWL:ttogA{n“. Alternatively you may just pick up any single character of your website/account or username, say ” a” for amazon and pick up characters in each row diagonally starting at A, so your password will be “&rR8″On:1RKI“. Follow the edge if you hit the edge or go in another direction until you pick a character from each row. If you’re worried about losing the card and exposing your passwords, you may mix it up with a string known to you only. For e.g. &BWL:ttogA{n + 250189 (some random date you can easily remember), you can create something like &B2WL5:t0to1gA8{n9 which is created by adding each character in 250189 to &BWL:ttogA{n after every 2 characters. As you can see we’ve got ourself a very strong password. If you lose your password card, you can recreate it by visiting Password Card Generator tool just by entering your master password again. The random characters are generated in your browser and no data is transmitted.

Another advanced technique described by John Graham-Cumming involves printing Tabula Recta on a piece of paper. Once you have that, you can design your own scheme to generate password for a given account. His post describes this technique in detail.

Password Chart is another easy to use and effective tool which falls into this category. With options to include numbers and symbols, all you need to do is to enter your pass phrase or master passwords and a chart like the one shown below will be instantly generated for you. Everything is done in your browser and no passwords are sent over the Internet. Again, it’s up to you to decide how you want to use this chart. You can simply substitute characters in your account name with characters in password chart against that alphabet. So if you want a password for your Facebook account, you get “+87r6Wmf#vB8B8n7” which offers high entropy.

Password Chart

Password Chart

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