There’s a few of applications I recommend to other people. One of them is KeePass. (It’s free!) It stores your passwords in one big password-locked file. I have accounts for hundreds of different websites. It’s also a really bad idea to use the same password across all of them. For example, if some adminstrator on some website decides they want to hack into your gmail account, it’s a whole lot easier if you’re using the same password for gmail as you are on their website. Even worse, some people don’t want to remember passwords, so they use simple (easily hacked) passwords like “123456” or “password”.

If you’re using the same password everywhere, it’s a whole lot harder to change your password if it ever gets compromised. It’s not uncommon for sites to get hacked (case in point: Gawker) and if you’re using the same password on dozens of sites, it’s a pain because you’ll want to start using a new password for your Gawker account and probably your email account, too. Now you’ve got to remember which sites use your old password, which ones use your new one, or maybe you want to switch all of the websites to use your new password (good luck remembering all of them).

KeePass keeps track of all your usernames, passwords, and login URLs for you. They can automatically generate random passwords for you, too – which means your password is harder to guess, and all your passwords will be different. You’ll definitely want to keep a backup of your KeePass database, though, because if you ever lose them, you’ll be screwed.

Wikipedia article about KeePass
KeePass official site (download it here)

5 thoughts on “KeePass

  1. Hey, good article. I recommend using a password manager to almost everyone I know. Ive been using Roboform for 10 years now I could not live without it.

  2. Was looking into solutions, backups are normally a nightmare for me. Any advice Brit? I was looking into picking up RoboForm Anywhere, looks like it backs stuff up automatically.

  3. I’ve never checked out Roboform. If you’re not doing backups, it’s always possible to run occasional backups of the KeePass file using a flash drive or emailing it to yourself. The keypass file is the one with the *.kdb extension and it’s not very big. Small flash drives are cheap (less than $10), although you’ll have to remember to backup/email the file occasionally.

  4. I have been using RoboForm since around 2004 and recently upgraded to RoboForm Everywhere last year specifically so I could backup my data online and access it from my phone and tablet while keeping it in sync with my USB drives and laptop. The days of emailing passcards to myself are long gone. RoboForm was the first password manager on the market and trying these other password managers before deciding to upgrade made it pretty clear that they are still working to catch up with the original (RoboForm).

  5. Thanks, Marly, Steven, and Phil. By the way, I noticed all three of you have the same IP address, meaning that you’re probably writing your comments from the exact same computer. I also noticed that the IP address traces back to Fairfax, Virginia, the same city where Siber Systems (the Roboform developer) is based. Are you familiar with the term astroturfing?

    “Astroturfing occurs when an organization or individual presents information or opinions on a subject without disclosing that they have been reimbursed for their statements in an intentional effort to give the appearance of an organic source. Astroturfing is intended to give the statements the credibility of an independent entity, by withholding information about the source’s financial connection… A single employee at an astroturfing operation may create five to seventy different users or online personas to give the impression that a large number of people support their client’s political agenda or have favorable reviews of a product… In 2007 and 2008, the FTC worked on ratifying the guides to address changes in social media. New astroturfing regulations were passed in 2009. They required anyone writing about a product or service online to disclose any financial connection to the seller, including free gifts.”

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