Doesn’t it seem like today everything you do needs a username and password?
Some passwords require numbers, some have to be longer, and still others have to be changed ever 90 days. You want to be secure and use complex passwords, but who can remember all those different logins?
So what have most of us done up till now? The WORST thing for security you can ever do – use the same password for everything! Why is that so bad? If one site’s information is hacked, then those same hackers now have access to everything you signed up for – your e-mail account, which uses the same password… your online banking accounts… your store credit card accounts… So how do you have the convenience of one password but the security of complex different password for every site?
KeePass is a open source secure password utility that lets you generate, save and recall passwords and account information for free. It is secured using 256 bit AES encryption, one of the strongest encryption algorithms made, and allows you to access all the saved information using one master password.
The first step to using KeePass is to download it from http://www.keepass.info/ and run the installation program. Once installed, you will be prompted to create a master password file. Choose a name for the file and press save. Once you save your password database you will be prompted to create the master password. Please choose a password that is sufficiently complex that no one can easily guess it if your database file is stolen/compromised since it will be the “master key” to all your other passwords.
Press ok and you will be prompted with a settings screen, add a database name (Example: Your name’s Passwords) and a description.
Click on the security tab, and click on the blue link that says “1 second delay”. This changes the default settings for the encryption to add 1 second word of random transformations to the encryption process. This added 1 second makes it significently harder for hackers to randomly guess your password and unlock your database of saved passwords.
Press Ok and you’re ready to use KeePass. On the left hand side of the screen you’ll see different categories of passwords, and on the right you can right click in the empty area of the box and click “Add Entry…” to add a password. (You can also press the insert key instead)
The password entry screen then appears and you enter in a title, username (or e-mail address if the site uses your e-mail as your username) and a password – you pick both in the password field and the repeat field. The bar next to quality shows you the relative strength of your password from weakest to strongest. The stronger the password the more to the green the bar will be. Click the … icon next to password to show the password you typed.
If you want to be VERY secure you can use KeePass to generate passwords for you by clicking on the 2 keys next to the repeat box. (The gold and the silver key all the way to the right of the repeat box) The window that will come up will let you pick options for how long the password should be, what kind of characters it should use and if it should include spaces or special letters. This is important because every different kind of letter or character you add makes it harder for the password to be randomly guessed. abc123 is much easier to randomly generate then @bC!23.
Once you are done, press “ok” and the random password will show up in the password box.
Press ok again your password/information is saved. You can save the entire database of passwords by going to File and Save or clicking the save icon on the top bar.
It’s that simple to use! Now all you need to do when you want to type in your passwords to a website is open keypass and you can copy and paste your username and passwords (Select the username or password, hold down Ctrl + C to copy, go to the website field to type in username or password and type Ctrl + V to paste. Make sure you only copy the password after you press … to see the actual password don’t copy the ******’s)
Security, ease of use and free. What more can you ask?