Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Using a programmable keyboard to store passwords is a pretty good idea; but there are a few hidden issues to think about.
My friend has a programmable keyboard that stores the contents of the programmable keys in memory on the keyboard. He has most of his passwords to his favorite websites stored in these keys. He claims that this is a more secure approach than using a product like Roboform. If his computer is hacked, he says they still can't get into the memory in the keyboard. Is this a more secure approach than using a product like Roboform?
In this excerpt from Answercast #38, I look at a programmable keyboard that is being used to remember and enter passwords.
In my opinion, it is not.
It's probably about as secure as Roboform. Perhaps a little bit less so; because it sounds like it might be giving him a false sense of security against a few other things.
For example, if his system is ever infected with a key logger, then those keystrokes coming from his keyboard... well:
They look like keystrokes coming from a keyboard;
And they will be logged by a key logger.
Regardless of the fact of whether or not he physically typed them in;
Or used some kind of a smart key to type them in for him.
The other problem, of course, is that the passwords are stored somewhere. Someone could, using the keyboard physically, accidentally step across what those passwords are by accidentally taking the keystroke.
There are just a few ways that could go wrong and that has me somewhat concerned.
In my mind, it doesn't really give you any real additional security over a product like Roboform or LastPass (as I happen to use).
It also seems fairly limited in its flexibility in that:
If you ever want to use more than one computer (as many of us now do, both with our mobile devices and tablets and sometimes quite literally more than one computer), you're not really gaining any benefit there.
So I think it's a fine approach, I really do. I mean it's certainly better than having it written it down on a Post-it note next to your keyboard.
But, I would be concerned that it's giving him, maybe, a little bit of a
false sense of security, and that it's not necessarily giving him all the
security he might otherwise have were he to use a program like Roboform or
Next from Answercast 38 – Why does my computer slow down dramatically between midnight and 2am?
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