How to Keep Up With All Those Passwords

Keepass and LastPass

No matter if you are making a switch over to Linux or using Windows everyday, you need to have tough passwords.  It is also a bad idea to use the same password more then once.  But then the problem becomes how on Earth are you going to keep track of all those passwords.  These days we sign up for sites like it is nothing but giving each one a unique password?  How are you going to remember what it is tomorrow?  Fortunately there are a couple of programs to make this easier.

Keepass and LastPass are two programs of a breed of software that are trying to make your password woes go away.  Both of these programs store your passwords so you don't have to remember them.  Now I know most web browsers these days can do the same thing but not as well or I have had people lose all their passwords when they get a new computer when they store them in their web browser.  Keepass and LastPass make this a whole lot simpler by only making you have to remember one master password.

Lets start with my personal favorite of the two, Keepass.  Keepass allows you to save all of your passwords in a local encrypted database that exists on your computer and computer alone.  This is nice for the security worry warts like myself out there that like to know where our data is at all times.  Keepass uses 256 bit encryption to protect your passwords and all of your other data including usernames and notes.  On top of that you can require a security file be used along side a master password to unlock your database of passwords.  You can also run Keepass off of a USB drive making it a portable program.

One downside to Keepass is that it only exists on your computer or flash drive.  So what if have multiple computers that you need to access your passwords from and you forgot your flash drive?  Well I have found a solution using Dropbox.  You install Keepass on every computer that you want to use it from and put your database file in Dropbox.  Dropbox also encrypts their data that you are storing with them so now your passwords have double encryption and are accessible from any of your computers or mobile devices.  I like this because I know at all times where my database is and I can remove it from Dropbox at any time and return to a local only password solution.

Here are some links to Keepass and mobile apps that will work with Keepass databases.

The other program I mentioned is LastPass.  I don't use it day to day but I have played around with it.  Basically LastPass has a browser add on.  You install the add on and put in your master password to get easy access to your password list.  Pretty simple.  You can access your passwords at any time by logging into the LastPass website or browser add on.  This is because LastPass is actually a cloud service and store your passwords for you.  I am not exactly thrilled about that for two reasons.  First my passwords are stored on someone else's server.  That right there is a privacy and security concern for me.  But what happens if LastPass goes down like it did a few years ago.  Here is a link to that story.

Despite that thought I still think LastPass is a good service and I would recommend it to people.

So there are a couple options on how to keep you password madness under control.  Keepass gives you more control and options while LastPass gives you more convince.  With both of these options there is absolutely no reason for a person to your the same password on more then website.  That is not only bad practice but down right dangerous in this age where everything is online.  LastPass and Keepass are just a few clicks away.
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