With every website we sign up, we get one more username and password to remember. Most of the time, I used to end up using the same username/password combination for everything (worst thing that you can do) or not remembering anything at all, going back to the registration e-mails, often clicking on “I forgot my password”, starting the same tedious procedure once again, until the next time to forget which combination I used; which in my case is limited to 2 weeks at most with my horrible memory hence I need to use a password safe.
So I ended up looking for password managers, it had to be open-source, so it would be presumably safer than some propriety code and geeks from all over the world would already have checked the code for backdoors, security issues etc., and best of all, all I need to remember now is just 1 password, yay.
Let me introduce you to KeePass, the Open-Source Password Safe, which will be your best buddy while surfing the internet. Now you can use more complex passwords for each website and they do not need to be the same password. So the next time your favorite online service is hacked (and it will be), you will not need to change all of your passwords.
Let’s get started.
1. Download Keepass – Password Safe
Click this link and download the Professional Edition Installer (do not worry about the edition name -professional, it is still free)
2. Install The Software
I keep doing this, stating the obvious…
3. Run the Software and Click on New
No wizard welcomes you, so click on the icon marked red below.
4. Give a name to your database
Give it a name you like, click on Save.
5. Create a master password
This part is important. This has to be a long password with enough complexity, so that anyone with access to your database will not be able to guess it. Use the below example as a reference as to how complicated this part should be and set your password accordingly. Once you set up a master password there is no going back. Your database will be encrypted with AES encryption, which is pretty much uncrackable. There is no “I Forgot My Password” option, there is no going back. This is the only password you have to memorize, so please memorize it. If you forget your password, you will loose access to your data.
6. Optional Database Step
You do not need to do anything here, so click on OK to continue.
7. Create a new entry
Create your first entry. Right click on an empty space within KeePass and choose Add Entry.
Fill in Username, Password and the Url to the website you want to keep safe. We will use this info to auto-login to the website indicated in the Url part, in the upcoming section of this tutorial.
8. Close KeePass and save automatically.
After you have entered some data, try to close KeePass and it will present you the following screen. I suggest you to click the “Automatically save when..” checkbox and then choose Save. You will not need to worry about saving your changes anymore, they will be saved automatically when you exit KeePass.
Usage Example: Auto Login to a Website
So, lets see how KeePass helps us save the day by automatically entering username/password combinations into web based login interfaces, such as the one you see below.
- Use it to auto login to a website – Step 1
Open the web page to which you need to enter your credentials and click once on the username box, do not write anything. This is important, the text field that you will type into needs to have the focus.
- Use it to auto login to a website – Step 2
In KeePass, select the entry related with the website.
- Use it to auto login to a website – Step 3
Right click the entry and choose “Perform Auto-Type” or from the keyboard use CTRL + V (like pasting).
KeePass will auto fill in the username and password and will even click on the Login link. Easy right? Practice makes perfect.
KeePass is probably the best Password Safe currently on the internet. It is safe, fast and reliable. The only downside might be that it is not very user friendly at first sight. A good paid alternative might be LastPass, which uses propriety code and saves your data on the cloud.
One last advantage of KeePass is that, since it is open-source, it also works on almost every operating system available, such as Windows, Linux, Android, OS X, Android, Windows Phone, iPhone etc.
I believe you are good to give it a try now, please let me know if you have further comments regarding the use of software via the comments section.