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How to use USB sticks as passwords vault

Keys on USB stick

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Every time when you encrypt or decrypt files using Advanced Encryption Package software you can load passwords or PKI keys from USB memory stick.

This feature is available from all situations: and when you process your sensitive documents form context menu of Windows Explorer and when you encrypt/decrypt files from main AEP program,

Just click on button near password text field.


USB Stick is the key for strong encryption!

Passwords Storage on USB memory stick

Using USB sticks as the vault for your decryption & encryption keys is not just handy feature.

It is much more - the ability to use strong encryption keys. When you enter text password into text password field, you can use just limited set of printable characters. Say, 26 lower case english letters + 26 upper case letters + 10 digits + ~20 special chars like $%^ and etc.. So, you are limited to 60-100 available characters.

But on PC, every character is coded as 8-bits number. I.e. every character can represent 256 different states. For example 3 characters password *** is a combination of 2563=16.7 millions of possible passwords. But when using 60 printable symbols there are only 603=0.22 mln possible passwords. 75 times worse.

Impressed? But with ***** (i.e. 5 characters password) - the printable password will be ..... in 1414 times worse than randomly generated binary password of the same length.

Another example. AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption algorithm supports up to 256 bit (i.e. 32 characters) passwords. Currently, existing AES breaking software (you can easily find it in google, for example 'breakers' of WinRAR archives. WinRAR uses 128 bit AES encryption) in brute-force attacks calculates ~5-10 thousands passwords per second.

So, for 1 computer, for 8 characters password, it will require 58 mln years to break your encrypted document. But the computers speed is doubled every 3 years. So, really your 8-characters password will be broken in ~72 years. On single computer.

100,000 computers, working together, will break your document, encrypted by AES with 8 byte password characters, in 22.5 years.

Virtual Keyboard. Generating random binary encryption password

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Do you really have such secrets? If yes, use 12 characters random password for encryption. 100,000 computers will break this documents after 118.5 years of continuous calculation. In consideration with growth of technology.

Even if you have computer able to calculate 10 millions of password per second (and it is just impossible today), your document, encrypted by AES and 16 characters password (128 bit encryption) will be broken by 100.000 computers after 185 years...

So... Do you remember that we calculated it for really strong passwords (i.e. randomly generated binary keys)?

Back to our first example. Usual password, entered from keyboard. 60 different symbols per character.

8 chars password, 1000 computers, 10000 passwords per second for one - 194 days to break your password. For example, the same situation, but with randomly generated 8 chars password - 42 years.

And.. the same situation, but you use only english characters in password, i.e. 26 different chars: 5.8 hours. Feel the difference.

So, the importance of strong passwords is demonstrable. But how to use strong randomly generated password if computer keyboard cannot be used to enter such password?

AEP provides several abilities to solve this problem:

Set Master Password for USB memory stick

Additionally, AEP PRO can keep public & private RSA keys on USB memory stick context menu.

Moreover, AEP File Encryption Software can protect all encryption & decryption keys on USB stick by single master password. So, you can use strong binary keys for encryption, but remember single master password - the key to the vault where you keep dozens of keys....



Next: How to securely delete files from FAT/NTFS >
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