I'm traveling out of the country and I don't want to bring my laptop, because I would then worry about it getting stolen or broken. I am bringing an old iPad so that I can check email and look up restaurants, etc. while on the trip, but if it got destroyed it wouldn't be a big deal.

I don't plan to access my bank or other secured websites, but I'm thinking that I might need to if there were some kind of emergency that I needed to deal with. But my bank website has a unique password (plus two factor security) and that password is written down in a file on my computer and not synced to any cloud service.

If I don't bring a copy of that file, I don't know the password (it's random gibberish, to prevent standard exploits). But if I do bring a copy of that file, and anyone got that copy away from me, it would be horrific, because they would get passwords to everything.

So how could I work this? I could put the file on a USB stick, with encryption, but since I won't have my own computer, I can't read it without trusting someone else's, and that would be a huge risk.

I could put the file on the iPad itself, but then if that got stolen, I would worry that someone could access the file. (For that matter, how can I secure the email app on the iPad?)

What is a good way to handle this situation?

  • 1
    Not sure what kind of file or encryption you're talking about but the obvious choice is to use a password manager. Keepass to name one is available on Android and iOS and can be carried on a USB stick without the need to install anything. Also, I am not sure what your concern with the USB stick is: if you do have to use that password, you have to trust the computer and the browser, no way around that. I have a special email account of travel bookings and use on the go. My “main“ email accounts (e.g. recovery email for essential accounts) is not configured in my phone's email accounts.
    – Relaxed
    Jan 24 '19 at 22:26

Some ideas.

You don't have to take the whole file with you, just a file with that specific password.

You can obfuscate the password (whether on paper or in a file). What I mean is that, for example, you can write a b instead of an a, and a c instead of a b etc.

You can use an offline password manager and remember some password/passphrase.

You can encrypt the file.

If you choose to use a password manger or encrypt the file, you can store that new password on paper and keep it separate from the iPad, and can obfuscate it as well.

Perhaps worth reading - an answer about storing passwords by a top contributor on security.stackexchange.

  • I especially like this suggestion "You can obfuscate the password". This gives the OP a method they can select for keeping the password available - BUT a simple cipher key like this can be kept in their head - and therefore be next to unbreakable! NICE
    – kiltannen
    Jan 24 '19 at 22:22

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