Passwords for Everything
We manage our lives online. Banking, shopping, chatting, networking, blogging, emailing, and nearly all online activities require a password to use. For safety reasons, each account should have a unique password so that if one account password is stolen or hacked, it won’t open doors to all of your data. Imagine the damage someone could do if they could access all of your online accounts. Nobody wants to leave themselves open to that kind of risk.
At this point, you probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40 accounts that require passwords. Some you access daily, so they are easy to remember. Some you only visit monthly or even more rarely. We have all been in the frustrating situation of needing to use a website or utility and finding that we have forgotten our passwords for the sites. At times, the forgotten password options are often overly complicated or not immediate. So, what is the solution? KeePass.
What is KeePass
KeePass is password management software. It provides you with a database for all of your passwords and locks them with a master key or key file. This way you can keep them all in one safe, secure place and only have to remember one master password or designate one key file to unlock the database. Secure encryption algorithms are used to keep databases safe. Incredibly, this secure, useful software is completely free and open source.
How to Begin with KeePass
Simply download the free software and launch the .exe file from your desktop. KeePass installation is automatic and very fast. Once installed, a user can launch KeePass to begin creating a database.
Once launched, KeePass is very intuitive to use. Simply click File and then New on menu or click on the new page icon in the toolbar. A new window opens for you to enter your Master Password. This is the one password you will need to remember to access your password database. For safety, this should be something with several characters, mixing letters, numbers, and symbols. This should not be something that someone could guess. This is a word that will protect all of your others, so make it difficult, but make sure you can remember it! Once entered, click OK. This prompts another window to open for you to confirm your Master Password.
An alternative to using a Master Password is a key file. A key file may be used instead of or in addition to a password. Any file can be a key file and be used to authenticate the user. This is more complicated to do and can be difficult work with. Beginning users should consider sticking with a Master Password.
Now that your database is ready, you may begin entering your passwords. On the left hand side of the KeePass home screen, there are several default groups for data. These may be edited, added to, or deleted. For your first entry, right click the right hand password entry window and select Add Entry. A new window opens for your entry. Choose the group, title, user name, password, URL, and any notes you may have. Click OK and the entry is added into the database. Each entry may be modified by right clicking on it and choosing the editing option that you wish to use.
When you are finished entering passwords into your database, click the icon that looks like a computer disk to save the database. If this is your first save, you will need to choose where on your computer the file will be stored. That’s it! All of your passwords are stored in a secure file and you only have to remember ONE password!