I'm sure you've heard numerous times from many sources, web site logins should always be unique. Unfortunately few follow this rule and often reuse passwords among different Internet sites. Primarily because keeping track of unique passwords is a real hassle. Really! think about all the sites you use daily, then double that for occasional sites and before you know it you're managing 50 passwords or more. So What's the solution?
You could keep a ledger, but then you'd have to photocopy it a few times for every computer in the house. You could spend money on commercial solutions like 1Password or let the Open Source community help. KeePass Password Safe is a great and easy to use alternative. Best of all, its cross platform and free to use.
You can download KeePass from www.keepass.info
Installation is your typical Windows clicky-click.
Installation has 3 options, Full Install, Compact or Custom. Full install maxes out at 5.4MB, compact just 2.8MB and custom anywhere in between. Full Install includes additional libraries, XML stylesheets and a number of optimizations, compact simply includes core KeePass libraries.
After installation, the first required step is the creation of a KeePass database. Your encrypted database will store all recorded passwords and any other confidential information you'd like to keep safe. You have the option of encrypting your database with a master password, Key file, Windows user account or a combination of the three. KeePass uses AES/Rijndael 256bit encryption, so you can be confident encryption is strong.
To improve database functionality and performance, tweaks are available in database settings. For example to reduce the chance of password type guessing attacks, AES/Rijndael encryption uses Key transformations. Default setting is 6000 times, but you can increase this value to whatever you like as long as you realize larger values increase database load time and a slight performance hit. Other options are available from a simple description to database compression to reduce file size.
Once the database is created you're ready to add your first secret entry. More on that next week.