Sunday, June 11, 2006

Passwords trick

In my last podcast, I shared one of my favourite tricks in OS X, which I use to store passwords and logins in one place in a secure, easy-to-access way. I thought I'd write it out for you, because it is definitely one of my favourite tips of all time.

It's the perfect solution to the age old problem of passwords and logins. Nowadays we have so many of them: for our email accounts, for our online banking, for individual websites and so much more. With so many passwords, it's difficult to keep them all safe. But at the same time, it's also difficult to remember the ones you don't use frequently, especially if you keep them too safe. This solution keeps passwords safe, but it also keeps them all in one easily accessible place - on your computer. By using an encrypted disk image, you can password-protect a text file, and use that text file to store all of your passwords and logins! Here's how to do it.

How to create the encrypted disk image:
  • Go to disk utility.
  • Press the 'New Image' button.
  • You'll receive a 'Save As' menu for your disk image.
  • Give your disk image a name and select where to save it.
  • Select the size of your new disk image from the first pull-down menu (for passwords, the smallest size will do).
  • Select AES-128 encryption from the second pull-down menu.
  • Make sure it says read/write disk image in the third pull-down menu.
  • Your final selections should look something like this:
  • Press 'Create' to finish creating the encrypted disk image.
  • Once you've done this, you'll be asked to enter a password (twice for verification) for the encrypted disk image. This will be the password you need to access the disk image and all of its contents. Create your password and enter it. Remember this password.
  • And voila! You have an encrypted disk image!

  • How to save and protect your passwords using this disk image:
  • Mount your disk image by double clicking it to open it.
  • You will be asked for the password that you entered when you created the disk image. Enter the password, and the disk image will mount like any other virtual disk image or external disk. You can now treat it as though it were such a disk, and edit its contents however you wish.
  • Create a text file (Word or TextEdit will do fine), enter all of the passwords and logins that you want to remember/protect and save this file to the mounted disk image. Do not keep an extra copy on your hard drive, that copy won't be protected.
  • Eject the mounted disk image.
  • Now your passwords and logins are protected! Nobody can access the disk image and its contents without your password. But at the same time, you can access all of your passwords and logins easily just by mounting the disk image and opening your text file! To edit or add passwords and logins, just mount the disk image, enter your password and edit the text file.

  • And there we go! A relatively simple way of keeping passwords both accessible and protected. I see this method as the perfect solution to the problem of keeping passwords and logins both a secret and easily accessible, and so far this is the only thing I use encrypted disk images for. However, this method can obvioulsy be used to protect any files that you might want to keep encrypted, and definitely feel free to do so (just make sure the size of your disk image is large enough to store what you want to encrypt).

    Feel free to give me some feedback if you found this tip helpful!


    At 11:58 am, Anonymous michael said...

    nerdy lol


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