Turing Research Network
Author: @link_vector (Twitter Profile). Make sure to follow him on Twitter for regular updates on all things blockchain & cryptocurrency
In the first installment of our Secure Backup and storage series we wrote about Authenticating Mechanisms and the vital role they play in securing your digital assets.
In this edition we will explore Secure Backups ensuring you can safely recover your funds should the unexpected happen.
Part Two — Secure Backups
Securely storing your passwords should be done by using a password manager which can easily be downloaded online. Make sure you have verified the source of your download as to avoid poisoned or impersonating software. A password manager that some of us at Turing Research Network prefer to use is KeyPass.
Password managers are optimal for key management because you only have to remember one master password to gain access to your large database of passwords. You can simply copy and paste the passwords from the database as you please. Be wary of browser-based password managers as they can exploited if your browser is compromised!
So why exactly is a password manager important? As we continue expanding through our crypto journey, we will inevitably be required to store more passwords than we can remember and should therefore never use the same password for multiple wallets; hence, we use a password manager to securely and logically store our passwords.
An example of a strong password/passphrase is:
Y@nK3e_D0od!3_W3nT_2_T0wn? (please do not use this password!)
In case of a disaster (like a house fire, burglary or getting hacked) it is important to create backups of your password database if your local device is compromised.
Most password managers include an export function which will typically export the database into common file format like CSV. Once exported you should encrypt that CSV document and securely store it on a number of USB drives to be accessed at any later point. (Store the USB drives in multiple safe locations!)
Luckily both Windows and Mac operating systems offer ways to easily encrypt objects.
Example: how to encrypt documents using the MacOS Terminal:
openssl enc -aes-256-cbc -in database.csv -out encrypted_database.enc
# Type your password (twice) to encrypt
openssl enc -d -aes-256-cbc -in encrypted_database.enc -out database.csv
# Type your password to decrypt
Pin Codes can be stored within a password database, memorized and stored offline.
For securely storing your keystore file the techniques are similar to storing and backing up your passwords. You can encrypt a keystore file in the same way you encrypted your password database, and you can also store it on an external device like a USB. Best practice is storing your keystore file off your local machine on a USB drive and connecting that USB whenever you need access to your wallet. Although this might not seem like the most efficient mechanism, it is indeed much safer then storing the keystore file solely on your local desktop or laptop.
If you want to add an extra layer of security and take it a step further, then you should consider encrypting the USB drive itself (with a different password than the CSV file). Please understand that at this point the complexity increases because now you have to remember more than one password. Again, depending on the use-case and needs, some people prefer to be more secure than fast and efficient. Here is a quick help guide to encrypting USB drives on Windows OS.
Storing your seed phrase or mnemonic phrase is similar to storing your password database. They need to be either written down and stored in a secure location or kept digitally on an encrypted document within an encrypted hardware device.
Another very useful technique for storing your seed phrase or mnemonic phrase is to obtain a small titanium plate and a small metal rotary tool in order to physically engrave each word on the plate (in the correct order as it was initially generated). These plates are fire and water resistant plus offer an extra layer of security in case of a disaster that destroys a piece of paper or USB device containing your seed phrase or mnemonic device. If you take the time to use all of these techniques, then you are going to significantly reduce your risk and exposure to disaster.
Security is a like a martial-art; it takes patience and practice to improve upon. If you value your security, then embrace these techniques!
About Turing Research Network
Turing Research Network was founded in early 2020 by a group of passionate crypto enthusiasts and active members of the blockchain community.
Our vision is to support the development of our crypto communities enabling knowledge sharing and unbiased critical evaluation of technology and projects shaping the future of the blockchain industry.
We have a long-term perspective on the development of the projects we support and look to establish and foster the communities in which we interact
Visit our website: https://turingresearch.network
Follow us on Twitter: @turing_research