[lug] How do you keep your passwords safe while Paying bills and Day Trading at Work?

siegfried siegfried at heintze.com
Sat Oct 4 14:50:34 MDT 2008

As a result of listening to an interview of a hapless share owner of Freddie
MaC (FRE) on NPR some Sunday afternoon, actually bought some Freddie mac
stock and inadvertently (I did not intend this when I initially purchased
the stock) started day trading and actually made $5000 on Wednesday and lost
$3000 on Thursday last week. Wow! Was that exciting! I'm so glad to still be

Anyway, this brings up a security problem: because I've also started paying
my bills on line. Since credit card numbers and passwords to online bank and
brokerage accounts can be recovered from deleted files on abandoned disk
drives on the way to the recycler, I have abandoned magnetic media for
recording this sensitive information even though I take a jump drive with me
to work to store a running total of my work hours and my .emacs file.

So now that paper copy of my passwords is starting to make me nervous
because I've started to take it to work everyday so I can pay bills and
trade stocks (although so far I have given up on the day trading). Suppose I
loose that paper with the passwords, URLs and the answers to various
security questions? Yikes! That is a lot of banks and brokerages and credit
cards to call up and cancel should I loose it.

What to you do? I was thinking about using pgp or gpg and storing my
passwords on my jump drive and then I could physically destroy the jump
drive when I abandon it. That would solve the problem of someone scavenging
old disk drives. But then I'd have to have a backup jump drive. I suppose
that is not a problem. And if I use GPG would I be secure (assuming I never
write down the strong master password)?

Does anyone use the emacs package "mew" to encrypt? I just discovered
http://mailcrypt.sourceforge.net/ but have not used it. If I store an
encrypted file on my jump drive and I decrypt it using one of these
packages, where does the temporary unencrypted file get stored? On my hard
drive where someone can scavenging it? What do you do?


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