Keep Passwords Secure with Encryption

Monday, May 23, 2011

Using a text file for passwords has always been handy. It's portable and you can send it whenever you need it. But it is inherently insecure. There are a lot of tools that can help you secure your valuable passwords, especially in these days of hack attacks and prevalence of intrusions.

One tool I recommend to friends is Keepass. KeePass is an open source project that encrypts your passwords to keep them protected from prying eyes. It supports AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and Twofish algorithm to encrypt passwords. These are considered 2 of the most secure ways to encrypt data. In addition, Keepass encrypts all data it keeps and not just the passwords, so even your usernames are protected. It also features on-the-fly encryption, which means even if your computer freezes while you're using it, your data is safe. Keepass is also portable, so it doesn't need to be installed in a particular computer. That means it doesn't leave any traces on a computer you use. Convenient, especially when you have Keepass on a USB stick and you ask to use a friend's computer to access your accounts online. No worries from keyloggers as well. While it is running, you can press a hotkey and Keepass can automatically fill in the password when it detects your logging in with a username you saved in it. You can also generate very hard-to-crack passwords by using its random password generator. Since your using it already for keeping your passwords, you need not worry about remembering a difficult password. Keepass has a ton of advanced user features as well. You can check them out here: http://keepass.info/features.html. Best of all, it is free!

Did I get your attention now? Here's how to start using Keepass in 4 easy steps:

1. Download the portable version of Keepass from http://keepass.info/download.html:

2. Extract the files from the .ZIP folder:

3. Click on KeePass.exe from the extracted files:

4. Start typing in your passwords!

If you need something more robust to work across multiple devices, there are other options. For one, Keeper Data Vault. Keeper Data Vault is compatible with PC, MAC and Linux operating systems and apps for mobile devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, BlackBerry(r), Android, Vodaphone 360/Symbian are available. It's available in English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. It uses also uses 128-Bit AES cipher encryption and syncs your data across all your computers and devices. A random password generator comes standard and is aptly called 'Dice'. Keeper also supports automatically filling in usernames and passwords, convenient when using mobile touchscreen devices like iPhones and Android phones.

The most robust security feature on it has to be the Self-Destruct Mode. If set to that option, Keeper erases all data after 5 unsuccessful login attempts. If you tavel a lot and you have your passwords stored in Keeper on a mobile device or laptop, this has to be the single-most important security feature if ever you loose your device or laptop. So if you happen to leave your phone or your laptop on the train or taxi, you know your passwords are still secure. You also don't have to worry about your data on your other computers or devices either. Even with Self-Destruct turned on, your other devices are not affected. Since Keeper syncs data, everything can be restored by using the secure backup & restore features.

If you're interested in trying out Keeper, you can get it here: Keeper 50% Off. If you use that link, you can get a 50% discount by using the code KP50 at checkout.

So keep your passwords safe and download these 2 applications. Be careful out there.

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