4th-A Technologies, LLC
            Knowledge Base 4th-A Technologies, LLC General

            How do I backup my access key ?

            If you lose your device (whether it gets lost, stolen, or just stops working), there are 2 things that you’ll need to regain access to your Storm4 account:

            First, you’ll need to be able to login to your account. We support a bunch of login providers: Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. So, whoever you chose, you’ll need to be able to login to that account. The good news is that you can link multiple login providers to your Storm4 account. Which means you can login using any provider that you’ve linked to your account.

            Second, after you’ve logged in, Storm4 will prompt your for an “access key”. This is what you use to transfer your account’s private key from one device to another. Now, here’s the important part:

            If you don’t have your access key, you’re out-of-luck. You can’t come to us and say, “hey, i lost my access key, can you help me out?” The answer is “no”. We simply don’t have it - by design. This is a good thing, because it means we’re completely unable to read your content. (Or even the metadata such as the filename.) But, in exchange for this unusual respect for your privacy, you have one single responsibility - make a backup of your access key.

            And we’re going to walk through how to do that right now.

            There are 3 ways you can backup your access key:

            1. Store it in a password manager

            2. Store it as a regular file

            3. Copy it into the physical world (like on paper)

            We’re gonna walk through each option, and you can choose which works best for you.

            Option #1 - Store your acess key in a password manager.

            A lot of people use password managers these days. Like 1password or LastPass. And these are great tools.

            The question to ask yourself here is:

            If I lose this device, will I be able to regain access to my password manager ?

            In other words, are you going to remember the master password for your password manager ?

            And is the password manager automatically backed up to the cloud ?

            If the answer is yes, then using a password manager is a great choice.

            Steps:  watch video

            • In Storm4, open the preferences window, and select the desired user
            • Click on “Clone this account to another device"
            • Then select the “Words” tab
            • Select the words, and copy them
            • Now paste them into your password manager
            • Next, click “Start Verification”
            • And now just click the words in the proper order (by referring to the word list you pated in your password manager)

            Option #2 - store your access key as a regular file

            This generally works best if you’re planning on storing the file on an external volume, like a USB stick.

            The question to ask yourself here is:

            Will this file be available for me when I need it ?

            Some dangers to think about with a USB stick: what if you lose it? For example, if you store it in the same bag as your laptop, and then somebody steals your laptop bag, you’re going to be out-of-luck. In other words, the goal here is geographic separation. It's recommended you store the file on a different drive than your computer. And then put the drive in a different location than your computer.

            Steps:  watch video

            • In Storm4, open the preferences window, and select the desired user
            • Click on “Clone this account to another device"
            • Select the "QR Code" tab
            • Click "save file"
            • And then store the file (a jpeg image) as desired
            • Next, click “Verify Backup” (a screen will appear with QR code scanner)
            • Now just drag-n-drop the file onto the QR code scanner

            If you want to be even more secure, you can choose to type in a passphrase. This will encrypt the QR-code to the passphrase that you type in. But, of course, this means you’ll need both the QR-code file AND the passphrase in order to restore your account. But if you combine this with option 1 (store the passphrase in your password manager) we’re talking some serious security here. Just be smart about it. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

            Option #3 - Store your access key in the physical world

            Generally this means on paper. But I’ll discuss a cool alternative in a moment.

            So, you may have noticed earlier (in option #2) that you can print the QR code.

            Or, (in option #1) you can just write down the word list.

            The question to ask yourself here is:

            Where am I going to store this piece of paper?

            Hopefully you’re not planning to put it on a sticky note, and then stick it on your monitor...

            There’s also an alternative to paper - which is stainless steel. There's a product called CryptoSteel that allows you to backup your key in stainless steel.

            We use a standardized word list where the first 4 characters of every word are guaranteed unique within the word list. Meaning, you only need to store the first 4 letters of each word. So you could buy the mnemonic version of the CryptoSteel, and then use it for Storm4 by storing the first 4 letters of each word. The Storm4 clone key is 24 words. At 4 letters per word, that's 96 characters. And the CryptoSteel supports 96 characters - 48 per side. (There’s a front and a back to the device. It's hard to see in the pictures, but you can see it in the videos).

            We use the same standardized wordlist as Bitcoin: BIP-0039

            So you’ve got options. And now that you have the information on how to backup your access key, you no longer have excuses.

            Things To Avoid :
            Imagine that you buy a big filing cabinet that has a lock. One that’s big & heavy & fireproof. Now, the filing cabinet comes with 2 keys. You keep one on your regular keychain. But what to do with the other one? What would happen if you decided to keep the other key… inside the locked filing cabinet ?

            That would be pretty silly, right ?

            Make sure you don’t do something similar, in the digital world.

            Option #1 was storing your access key in a password manager. So if you’re storing the Storm4 key inside your password manager… then make sure you’re not storing your password manager data inside Storm4. That would be the equivalent of keeping your backup key inside the locked filing cabinet.

            Option #2 was storing the access key as a file. We mentioned a USB stick. But USB sticks can go bad. They can break or get fried. So you may want to consider not keeping all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. This could mean backing it up to multiple USB sticks. Or maybe an external drive, and a USB stick.

            And, related to this, was the paper option (#3). What happens if there’s a fire? Or a flood? Could one natural disaster destroy both your device and your backup? If so, you should think about geographic distribution of this information.

            It’s a good idea to think these things through now. And then you can have peace of mind in the future, knowing your data is safe.

            Updated: 04 Feb 2018 11:19 PM
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