Store Passwords and Files in a Decentralized Way
When dealing with private digital information such as passwords or other important files, it’s always beneficial to be aware of some best practices when it comes to safely and securely storing them in such a way that they cannot be accessed by any unauthorized or unwanted users.
In this article, we’ll be touching upon several methods you can use to keep your sensitive data away from prying eyes.
Let’s face it. It’s not easy coming up with a good, strong, memorable password. Oftentimes it’s much easier to just reuse the same password you’ve had for years over and over across all your different accounts. This, however, leaves you vulnerable to widespread damage if someone were to get ahold of your “universal” password. That’s why it’s always better to use unique passwords for different accounts.
When coming up with a secure password, you’ll always want to avoid simple words, phrases, or number sequences that can be easily guessed. According to cybersecurity researchers, the most common password of 2021 was simply “123456”. Take that an example of what not to use. If you want to be extra secure, an easy way to protect yourself is to use a password generator.
If you’re worried about forgetting your unique passwords, you can always use a password manager. There are numerous free and paid options out there such as LastPass and 1Password. Google even has their own that links to your Gmail account. Another good practice? Physically write down your passwords somewhere safe and keep them with your other important documents.
If you’d rather keep your passwords saved digitally, it’s not recommended to leave them sitting around openly in a Word doc or in your Notes app (known as plaintext), even if you think they are really well hidden. One method you can use to keep your passwords and other important files safe is to encrypt them.
Encryption can be defined as the process of concealing a message or information by encoding it in a way that makes it unintelligible (known as ciphertext) using a key (a special string of data). This information can then only be decrypted by another key which is used to convert the ciphertext back to plaintext and view the message.
So how can you encrypt your own passwords and files? There are several paid programs available as well as built-in options for both Windows and Mac systems that allow you to easily encrypt your files with a password. Just don’t set it to “123456”!
Now for those who really want a secure, failsafe method for storing their private passwords and files, we’ll discuss a little bit about storing your data in a decentralized fashion.
Decentralized Storage Solutions:
Once you’ve gotten your passwords and precious files all secure and encrypted (optional), a safe place you can store them is on a blockchain-powered decentralized cloud storage provider.
What makes them decentralized is that content is hosted across a network of thousands of peers instead of just one centralized server. This is known as a peer-to-peer (P2P) network model. Uploaded files are broken down into blocks, encrypted using hash codes, copied, and stored across multiple different nodes (computers) on the network, so no one person or entity has access to the uploaded files. This also makes it extremely difficult for anyone to block or censor your data. If for any reason one node goes down, another will be ready to take its place and your files will remain accessible.
There are a few decentralized cloud storage networks available today. Some of the most popular ones are the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), Filecoin (which runs off of IPFS), Storj, and Sia. While IPFS is open-source and free to use, it should be noted that payments for uploading and downloading files to and from Filecoin, Storj, and Sia require the use of each network’s native utility token – FIL, SIACOIN, and STORJ respectively. Additionally, anyone with extra storage space on their hard drive can contribute their space to these networks and be rewarded with tokens as an incentive.
If you’d like to upload your files to one of these services, or learn how to contribute your spare storage space, simply navigate to their respective website and find the appropriate instructions to get started.
We all have passwords and important files we need to keep safe. Using a password generator and/or a password manager can help you come up with one that’s secure and remembered for you in one convenient spot. Encrypting your files is another great way to add an extra layer of security.
One of the best ways to ensure that your data is secure and remains accessible is by uploading it to a blockchain-powered decentralized cloud storage network, though keep in mind you’ll need to buy some of their native cryptocurrency to use their services (with the exception of IPFS).
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