The following situation/question was bugging me lately.

I have a number of accounts and passwords, still managed "old school" with pen and paper. I am aware of the security implications of that method.

I want to backup my passwords in a secure manner, that allows recovery in case of a disaster that could potentially destroy all hardware and physical copies of passwords.

I thought of the following process:

  1. Take a photo with a camera (e.g. DSLR, no phone)
  2. Copy photo to a trusted PC
  3. Encrypt the photo with a long passphrase (e.g. using .7zip AES)
  4. Overwrite copy of photo on both PC and SD-Card
  5. Check with a recovery tool if anything of the photo can be recovered
  6. Upload encrypted file to a zero-knowledge online backup

I know that the camera may have internal memory holding a copy, but that would be too much for my threat assumption.

Is there a down-side for security? Could this be improved or have I overlooked essential problems?

  • 1
    seems overly complicated, but it should work.
    – dandavis
    Aug 14, 2016 at 21:27
  • Just in case somebody needs this, KeePass can also print the passwords, in case e.g. you want to store it in a safe.
    – John
    Aug 15, 2016 at 11:53

1 Answer 1


Your method is fine, but over-complicated.

You could just start using a local password manager like KeePass and upload it to cloud every time you add a new account.

The advantage (or should I say, one of the advantages) is that the file is already encrypted, so no one will be able to access it without your master password (the only one that you have to remember) and you don't have to worry about additional decrypting, like with GPG/encrypted archive.

If you want extra layer of encryption, you can use symmetric encryption using GPG or create an encrypted zip (or any other format that supports encryption).

  • 1
    I am aware of KeePass, it does have some nice features. That might be nicer for storing purpose.
    – John
    Aug 14, 2016 at 22:23
  • KeePass has a lot of features. I use only password generating (and obviously storing). It's nice even as only a way to back up passwords. Aug 14, 2016 at 22:25
  • 1
    Ok I have tested it again, it is very suitable for my problem, even without the need for auto-typing etc.
    – John
    Aug 14, 2016 at 22:47
  • I find it very practical. Cross-platform, local, ... I really like that it's local - you decide where it's stored, can access it off-line, etc. Aug 14, 2016 at 22:50

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