Excel Spreadsheet Security

  jonmac 20:25 30 Jan 11
Locked

Just how secure is an Excel file protected by a 4 digit number? I store various passwords in one in the form of hints to them which only I would know the answer to e.g. name of first dog/camera/ girlfriend etc.

So far so good but I'm not sure how easy it would be for someone to crack the access number. Anyone help?

  pipfan 20:58 30 Jan 11

Depends who you are prtecting it from. A 4 digit number gives a possible 10,000 different combinations so would be quite safe from the average user.

If someone is determined, they may 'research' you (birthdate, family birthdates etc) and try those numbers first but again depends on how likely this is to happen given your particular situation.

Worth pointing out that no excel document is completely secure - any doc can be opened regardless of protection if the correct process, macros and software are used. Always worth laying in additional protection (place the doc in a secured area of your HD for example).

  OTT_B 21:08 30 Jan 11

How easy to crack a 4 digit password? Very easy. Really - very very easy. A short bit of VBA code will find a short password in a few seconds (literally).

Go for non dictionary passwords, at least 9 characters, using a mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters and the a symbol or two if you want.

There are still attacks that will remove the password with relative ease, but they are not as common.

  QuizMan 21:16 30 Jan 11

Excel is notoriously unsecure and not to be recommended. If it helps, I use this program to record user names and passwords and it is free
click here

  jonmac 22:25 30 Jan 11

Thanks to all who responded. That confirms what I suspected, that I shouldn't keep actual passwords there but only clues to them. Quizman, I'll have a look at that software.

  DippyGirl 23:08 30 Jan 11

KeePass is an excellent program
I use it for very secure things (as it only lives on my desktop and the file is held in a Truecrypt vault)
Things like web-site user/Pw (except banking) I use LastPass for convenience (details are held encrypted on a server)

  robin_x 23:35 30 Jan 11

Truecrypt is the freeware of choice for secure encryption. However I can't get my head round setting up containers etc to do it.

Axcrypt on the other hand is a doddle. Easy to use in a few mins. Right click any file to see Axcrypt encryption options integrated in the Windows normal context menu.

Download here...
click here;1

  v1asco 11:23 31 Jan 11

I've p[osted this a long time back but it still works.

Find a document that's innocent and not worth a second glance (Aunt Mables Knitting Patterns).

Type in your passwords at the end, highlight them all then change the ink to paper colour (normally white).

They dissapear of course.

Then to see them again just select the whole page (Control +A)and Hey Presto, you can see them again.

It would take a very determined person to find them amongst all the others, though no doubt since I last suggested this there is a quck find.

  wiz-king 11:43 31 Jan 11

Do I do them in plain or purl?

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