Ever since the hacking group Anonymous appeared on the Internet there seemed to rise in the number of online accounts being hacked. Not that they were to blame* necessarily, it just became more prolific.
I’ve always known that you shouldn’t be using the same password across the Internet for various reasons. But unless you’ve got a brilliant memory trying to remember hundreds of passwords is an impossiblity.
Suddenly a website is hacked and your personal data is exposed. You need to change your password and you wonder if you should be changing your email, banking and social media logins as well. The answer is probably.
But there is a solution to your problem – a secure password database.
I discovered KeePass thanks to my day job. Having a secure password database gave everyone access to shared accounts and clients logins we needed without the risk of them being compromised due to being sent via email, stored in inappropriate places or scribbled down on Post it notes.
What is a Password Database?
The idea of the password database is simple enough. You stick all your passwords in it and use one (secure) password to access it. From email, to banking to playstation network logins (or anything else you can think of) you can add passwords and constantly expand the database to ensure you never use the same password in multiple places.
Automatic Hyper-Secure Passwords
The added bonus of KeePass is you can use its interface to create ultra secure passwords. Go into the settings and tweak it to automatically produce long, complex and unique passwords for each of your accounts. You can choose to add unusual characters, numbers, letters, capitalisation and more, as well as specifying the password length. So you can use extra long and complex passwords that you’d never be able to remember otherwise. Once you access the database using your single password, it’s then just a case of copying and pasting the specific password into the relevant website login.
Of course your database is only as strong as your login password. If you’re using something weak or easy to crack then any determined hacker has easy access to it and all your passwords. Having said that, if you only stored the database on your own PC then they’d have to hack your PC (or steal it first).
Remote Access & Easy Use
The great thing about a KeePass database is it can be stored in the cloud. Upload the secure file to your Google Drive, Dropbox, Skydrive or other account and you can then access it at work, on your phone, on your tablet or anywhere else you might need it that has Internet access. Of course doing this adds another level of risk as you’ll need a secure password to these accounts so no one can access your database and you need to be confident the Cloud provider won’t be hacked and lose your data. I’d recommend Google Drive for this reason as they’re probably the least likely to be compromised.
KeePass Droid is an Android app that can access and process keyword databases and is basically the sister application of the desktop software. Use it to access the database you stored in the cloud and you now have access to all your secure passwords from your phone.
It has a great user interface and is easy to use. Pick the website/account you need access to and you get the ability to copy and paste the username and password from your phone notification area making copying and pasting into the website a breeze.
This process has transformed the way I handle passwords and accounts. Hopefully it’ll do the same for you as well.
Check out this video from Willie D.
*if you aren’t aware of Anonymous and their reason for existence, politics and activities I’d highly recommend watching the documentary ‘We Are Legion’ – it dispelled quite a few misconceptions I had about them.