Remembering one password is easy. Remembering hundreds of passwords is not easy. Even though I have discussed the way to remember thousands of passwords easily, plenty of people still balk at the idea of having to remember so many passwords. So what is the alternative solution? The answer is using a password manager.
For anyone who is lazy (just like me) or is tired of remembering hundreds of password, they only need to remember one master password to activate the password manager, which is a simple task for everyone. There are plenty of free password managers that provide great encryption and security for anyone to store their passwords.
One of my favorite password manager is KeePass (KeePassX for Linux and Mac version). It has an easy-to-use interface and uses strong 256 bits encryption algorithm (AES and TwoFish). The features of KeePassX include:
- 256 bits AES or TwoFish encryption
- Easy to use interface
- Customizable. It allows you to save many different information e.g. user names, passwords, urls, attachments and comments in one single database.
- Integrated search function allows you to search in a single group or the complete database.
- Secure password generation.
- Cross platform. This is what attracts me most. Since it can be installed in all OS, I am able to port my password database from one PC to another.
For Windows OS, download the .exe file from http://keepass.info/download.html
For Mac OSX, download the binary package from http://www.keepassx.org/downloads or .dmg file from Softpedia
For Linux, download the .deb or .rpm file from http://www.keepassx.org/downloads. Alternatively, Ubuntu users can install using Synaptic Package Manager.
Installing and using KeePassX on Ubuntu
Open up your synaptic package manager (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager). Navigate to ‘keepassx‘ and check the box beside it. Click Apply. This will install the program and its dependency files (libqt4-core and libqt4-gui).
When installation is done, open the KeePassX (Applications -> Accessories -> KeePassX).
To save your password, you must first create a database. Click on File -> New Database. On the window that appears, set your database password. This will be your master password (and the only password that you need to remember), thus make sure you set a strong and hard to guess password.
The next step is to add a new group. This is to allow you to organize your passwords in various groups for easy navigation and retrieval. Click Edit -> New Group. Enter the title of the group and select an icon.
Now you are ready to add your password. Click Edit -> Add New Entry. On the window that appears, there are various fields that you need to fill in. Beside the password field, there is a ‘Gen‘ button. Press it if you wish to generate a random password.
On the generate random password window, you can select from a series of options to generate a strong password. Since you are not remembering the password, it doesn’t matter if it generates a 20 characters long password that is full of weird characters. What’s more important is its ability to give you a strong protection.
Once finished, click Accept to pass the newly generated password to the password entry form.
Click OK to save your password.
To add more passwords, click Edit -> New Entry.
Before you exit the program, remember to save the database (File -> Save database), else all the effort will be gone to waste.