Securing Your Digital World: Password Safes

Last week, we had a nice long talk about passwords. We went over what why you would need a secure password and what exactly is a secure password. There were even some links to secure password generating websites. One of the major points of the last article was that you really should use a different secure password for each of your important websites. This means that you need to have quite a few hard to remember passwords. I mentioned a product known as a password safe. This is a nifty little application that will allow you to store your passwords in a single location. But is that unsecure? Well yes and no. Lets look into that real quick.

Storing all your passwords in a single location is unsecure in that all your passwords are in a centralized location. If someone was able to get the file they could crack it and get all your passwords. However, most password safes use 256-bit AES encryption so the chances of someone cracking your password safe’s file is pretty small. Doable? Most certainly. But quickly, that is a totally different story. This is the part that makes it secure. Also, some of the better password safe programs out there (like KeePass) are open source, so you can see the source code and see if your passwords are being sent anywhere (they are not).

So if a password safe is so cool, why do more people not use them? Well for pretty much the same reason that they do not use more secure passwords. It is extra steps, it takes extra cycles, and it means an added process to their internet experience.  People like to keep things simple when it comes to using the internet and they get lazy where they honestly should not.  A password safe to them is nothing more than an added complication.

Now, that you have heard about password safes, you want to start using one.  What are some of the better ones out there?  Well below is a list:

  • KeePass –  This is the password safe that I currently use.  The latest version (currently in Alpha testing) shows incredible promise and awesome new features.  The current version only lacks one feature that I could use and is perfect otherwise.  The missing feature is the ability to load a file off of an FTP site so that you can access the same password safe file from multiple locations.
  • PassPack – I just found out about PassPack recently.  I began using it just to test it out and see how it compares to KeePass.  The great thing about PassPack, is that it is online.  While this might scare people, they do a really good job on their website of convincing you that your data is perfectly safe.  I have no honest opinion at this point other than that some of the features they offer, are pretty spiffy.
  • Password Safe -Like KeePass, Password Safe is another open source password safe.  However, I find its interface lacking overall and it seems to be not as good as KeePass.  However, it is incredibly popular and many people recommend it.  If you were to ask me, I would recommend KeePass before Password Safe.

Do you know of another password safe that you like using?  If so, leave a comment below and tell us about it.

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2 Responses to Securing Your Digital World: Password Safes

  1. Hi,
    I’m a PassPack founding partner – just wanted to let you know that we’ve recently released an offline version (using Google Gears) as a backup tool for PassPack users:

    http://passpack.wordpress.com/2007/09/07/passpack-offline-version/

    Also, many of our users like to use PassPack’s import/export features to sync with Keepass.

    Cheers!
    Tara

  2. Hi,
    I’m a PassPack founding partner – just wanted to let you know that we’ve recently released an offline version (using Google Gears) as a backup tool for PassPack users:

    http://passpack.wordpress.com/2007/09/07/passpack-offline-version/

    Also, many of our users like to use PassPack’s import/export features to sync with Keepass.

    Cheers!
    Tara

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