The Password Keeper: Free and Open Source Software

Not too long ago, it was still relatively simple to remember all your passwords for use online. These days, this is becoming increasingly more difficult. Between computer access data, multiple e-mail addresses, social profiles, Internet banking, postings everywhere from Craigs List to — not to forget our PizzaHut password and all our blogging access data, we certainly can’t keep up. You don’t have to be an IT expert to know that you probably shouldn’t be using your dog’s name as a password for every account and keep it written down in the back of your day planner. We are certainly convinced that complicated passwords (with letters, special symbols, lower case mixed with upper case, etc.) are essential in today’s online data security. The question is: how do you remember all of them?

Our IT guru, programming genius and internet guardian angel, also known as Dagmar’s boyfriend, recommended we look into the completely free (open source) software called Keepass. Once downloaded, you can store all your access data and passwords for hundreds of accounts and profiles. All these are protected with a master password (which you should go to great lengths to remember). After you enter the master password, you will be able to see all your other stored access data, which is highly encrypted in accordance with the latest technology. For a master password, a recommendation is to pick an easy-to-remember word, but typing the corresponding letter to the left of it. For instance, “Andi” will become “Smfo”. For history buffs, passwords composed of historical figures and dates are a good choice, such as “Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770”, which could become “17LvB70”.


Michael on June 15, 2009 at 1:10 PM said...

I have been using KeePass for a long time and couldn't live without it. It makes it so much easier to select real secure passwords for all my sites, databases, ftp connections etc. I only have to remember two things: the master password – and to take the latest password vault with me when I am traveling.

PS: The link in your post isn't working correctly.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on June 15, 2009 at 1:25 PM said...

@Michael: glad you like this tool as much as we do -- we are also totally dependent on it. Thanks for letting us know about the link; our IT guru just told us, too. Fixed! Should work now.

Thomas Gruber on May 5, 2010 at 1:53 AM said...

Lifehacker nominated KeePass recently as the Best Password Manager:

Thomas Gruber on October 20, 2010 at 3:08 AM said...

Suggestions on how you may choose strong, easy-to-remember and yet different passwords for your various online accounts:

The idea is that you abbreviate a familiar phrase (for example, “May the force be with you” becomes “mtfbwy”), add some special characters on either sides of the word to make it extra strong (like #mtfbwy!) and then add few characters from the website name into the original password as either a suffix or prefix.

For instance, the above password could become #mtfbwy!AmZ for, #mtfbwy!FbK for Facebook, #mtfbwy!YtB for YouTube and so on.

Thus, the base password remains the same and the prefix, or the suffix, changes based upon the domain or the name of of the website where you are applying that password.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 20, 2010 at 9:43 AM said...

Excellent tip, Tom, that is brilliant. Best password tip we've heard in a long time; we hope many colleagues pick this one up! Thanks so much for sharing.

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