You hate passwords right? Just a little bit especially when it comes to creating complex ones that are (supposedly) hard to break and at the same time easy to remember otherwise you won’t be able to access your account or authenticate yourself anywhere.

Previously I presented a password creation technique that may help in creating complex yet simple to remember passwords, as well I’ve mentioned how much computer security is important and good passwords is one of its important steps. Still something is missing here, I bet that even if you have strong passwords which are created based on similar concepts as the one I’ve described, still you will face some problems in administering dozens of passwords of several accounts (Emails, Social Media, Windows, etc…)

Dilbert Passwords

The problem with passwords

Basically there are three main concerns related to passwords: complexity, memory, and too many accounts.

  • Starting by the complexity problem, creating passwords that a complex enough, making it hard for attacker to guess and immune from brute force attacks.
  • Second we have the human memory problem, many users have hard time memorizing password, especially complex and long ones, tending to forget them, which might result by writing their credentials somewhere that might be accessible by outsider’s or generating easy to remember and crack passwords.
  • Last but not least, we are overloaded with accounts and login screens, we have too many accounts to access, create IDs and unique Passwords. You create unique passwords, correct? 🙂 If you use the same password for several accounts, you are endangering all of these accounts, because if one account credentials were compromised (like the case of Twitter 250,000 accounts) attackers might try to use the same credentials on your remaining accounts and get lucky.

Passwords Overload

KeePass to the rescue

So clearly managing your accounts passwords is very important, and probably you already are using a tool for the task (Good Job). My favorite password manager from the long list is KeePass, a free and open source (OSI certified), secure password management tool, which is easy-to-use, has a friendly user interface, loaded with several great features.

With KeePass your passwords are saved in one local encrypted (algorithms: AES and Twofish) database, secured by one single master password, key file and/or your windows user account.

Entering the Master Password
Entering the Master Password

The great thing about KeePass is that it is compatible mainly on all common operating systems “Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 7, 8, Mono (Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, …)” and is portable, so there is no need for installation just extract the files and run. There is mainly too editions the 1.x and 2.x where the first runs with GDI+ and the second is based on Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, for a full comparison between the editions check here.

KeePass Main Screen
KeePass Main Screen

Features

KeePass is shipped with a lot of features such as:

  • Strong Security
    • Supports AES and Twofish encryption algorithm
    • The database is completely encrypted
    • SHA-256 for Hashing
    • In-Memory Passwords Protection: Your passwords are encrypted while KeePass is running, so even when the operating system caches the KeePass process to disk, this wouldn’t reveal your passwords anyway.”
  • Portable no need for installation
  • Strong Password Generator
  • Export and Import from/to various file types
  • Easy Database Transfer, you only need to copy the database file.
  • Secure Clipboard handling

For the full list of features and detailed description you can check the features section.

Also KeePass have many Plugins and Extensions for example backup, synchronization, import and export from other tools, integration and other utilities.

Access everywhere from Dropbox

Since one of KeePass features is portability, a good idea is to benefit from Dropbox synchronization feature between machines to access KeePass from any machine of yours.

  1. Create a Dropbox folder for KeePass
  2. Extract KeePass in that Folder
  3. Run KeePass executable (KeePass.exe) and manage your passwords

Go Mobile

OK Great. Now what if I am not using my personal computer and I need to access my passwords?

Problem solved with KeePass mobile applications,  supporting variety of smartphones, pocket PCs, and tablets such as Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc…

Go ahead download KeePass and give it a try.

>> Images courtesy of Dilbert and KeyLemon

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