How To: Create Strong Passwords Automatically with This DIY USB Password Generator

Create Strong Passwords Automatically with This DIY USB Password Generator

No matter how many PSAs are published on the topic, studies continue to show that we are generally terrible at creating secure passwords and PINs. Using the same password (or variations of it) for multiple sites is another huge no-no that the majority of people ignore, and even though you should change your passwords frequently, most of us don't.

One of the biggest contributing factors to all of these shortcomings is laziness—coming up with a strong password isn't easy, and remembering it is even harder. Well, all of your excuses are about to go out the window. The little device in the picture below can come up with a random password with as many characters as your heart desires in less than five seconds, and all you have to do is plug it in.

Image via codeandlife.com

Joonas Pihlajamaa over on Code and Life made this USB password generator because his work requires that he changes his password every couple of months and he wanted to make the process easier. It doesn't just create the password either—it can also remember and type it in for you when you plug it in.

This is much more secure than the way most of us do it for a few reasons. One is that random passwords that don't contain words or phrases are much harder to crack. An added benefit is that by using this device, you're also protected from keylogging software.

The device itself is an ATtiny85 with a connector, zener diodes, resistors and jumpers all soldered onto a tripad veroboard and shoved inside the housing for an old flash drive.

Image via codeandlife.com

Joonas had to trim the insides with a Dremel to make it fit, but the finished product looks pretty much like any other USB stick.

Image via codeandlife.com

Check out the video to see it in action.

If you want to try building one, but aren't as experienced, here are Joonas's recommendations for other tutorials to help you out (we added links to make them easier to find):

"If you follow my USB tutorial from part 1 to part 4, then port the project to ATtiny85, and finally study the USB HID mouse tutorial, this password generator should be fairly understandable."

You can also find a much more detailed breakdown of the process along with schematics and all the source files over on Joonas's blog.

3 Comments

Pretty cool. Just don't loose it!

Hard to remember secure passwords? Lies. Please refer to http://xkcd.com/936/ . Or you can do what I do: pick or make up a moderately sized phrase, and start replacing duplicate characters with the most reasonable equivalent as you go.

but....i chang any computer password....using...CMD..lol

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