Are you the type to save your passwords in your browser’s built-in password storage system? If so, I hate to break it to you, but your passwords are at risk if you get hacked. As one IT security professional pointed out to me a couple of months ago, many browser vulnerabilities are based around those semi-helpful password storage systems; and login IDs and passwords are often what cybercriminals are after when they infect your computer.
Good news, though. There’s a simple, more secure and greatly effective piece of software out there that will store your passwords in an encrypted database, but still make it relatively easy to manage and access your passwords when you need them. Best of all, it’s free.
That piece of software is KeePass. It’s free, it’s open source and it’ll do a much better job of managing your login IDs and passwords than the built-in applications in Firefox or Internet Explorer. It’s also password-protected, so all you really need to do is create one password to access your database of passwords, and when you’re done with it, shut it down, thereby locking anyone who sits down at your computer out of your passwords.
I installed KeePass a couple of months ago, quickly and easily imported my passwords from Firefox (which I then promptly deleted from my browser’s history), and started using the software. I’ll admit it takes a little getting used to if you’ve become accustomed to using your browser’s password management utility, but what I found is I got into the habit of opening up KeePass in the morning, logged in and then found it easy to bounce back and forth between KeePass and Firefox when need be.
The software requires a bit of fiddling around before you’ll figure out where all the features are (such as how to add a new login ID/password combo), but I likely would have figured out how to use everything a bit quicker if I wasn’t so adamant about not reading the manual (that is, help file).
Although I mostly use KeePass for storing and accessing existing login information, it also includes a random password generator (you know, so you stop using passwords like your kid’s name or your favourite colour … or worse, “password”). It feels like I’ve only scratched the surface of the power behind what is essentially little more than a secure password management utility, but it’s become a useful and critical tool for personal and work usage.
Check it out.