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Tag Archives: random passwords

Most of us could care less about security.  We use easy passwords and leave our login credentials out in the open.  We do these things for convenience, but at the cost of security.  So how do we balance the two?

There are many ways to keep your accounts secure and private.  To secure an account, you need to have a good password.  I recommend using this site.  Every time you go there, you will get a random string of characters to use as a password.  Just select as many characters as you want and copy and paste it as your password.  The only problem is, they are long and random, making them hard to remember.  Fixing this is easy with KeePassX.

KeePassX is a free and open-source password manager that securely stores all of your login information in a database.  Why is it better than Firefox’s built-in manager?  Well, for one, you can access this database either with a password or a key file.  A key file is simply a file that you must present to the program in order to unlock the database.  This gets rid of the need for a password, making it much more convenient and secure.

To install KeePassX on Ubuntu, simply check the box next to it in Add/Remove Programs.  To launch it, go to your Applications menu and then to your Accessories menu and click on the KeePassX entry.  Once you start it, you need to create a database.  To do this, go to File, and then New Database.  In the window that pops up, uncheck the box next to Password and check the box next to Key File.  Then click on Browse and select the file you want to use as the key.  Make sure that this file will never be deleted.  Keep a backup just in case.  Once you choose a file and click OK, your password database will be created.

Now it is time to add your accounts.  Right click on a group in the left pane and select Add New Entry.  Add a title, your username and password for that site, and click OK.  Just repeat this for all of your accounts and when you are done, click the floppy disk icon to save.  To login to sites now, open KeePassX, select the account you want to use, right click on it, select Copy Username to Clipboard, and paste it into the username field on the site.  Then select Copy Password to Clipboard and paste it into the password field.

If you have multiple computers (or even if you don’t), KeePassX in combination with Dropbox can be amazing.  You can put your database file (it’s encrypted, so don’t worry about security) into your Dropbox to sync it with all of your computers.  As long as that computer has KeePassX or KeePass (the Windows version) installed, it can use the file.  This is perfectly secure because your database requires the key file to be opened, so even if someone gets the database file, they can’t use it.  Just make sure you have the key file on all of your computers to do this.  If you don’t have multiple computers, consider Dropbox as a free backup solution for your database.

If you followed these steps correctly, you should have a convenient and secure way to manage your passwords.  If you have a question, concern, idea, or solution, leave a comment and for those of us in the USA, have a great 4th of July weekend!

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