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KeePass


 

KeePass Password Safe mini-review

by Josh at DonationCoder, Jul 2006

 

From Clif

If you haven't been to DonationCoder, you are missing a whole mini-universe of cool free programs, people who like to talk about software and people who also create it. This review comes from Josh, who has been very busy creating cool little flash tutorials called screencasts.

 

From Josh

APP NAME: KeePass Password Safe

APP URL: http://keepass.sourceforge.net

APP Version Reviewed: 1.05

 

Intro:

 

I have, just recently and thanks to dc.com, come across this fine app. This app is an open source password manager that is freely available from the URL above. It has many advantages over other password managers, which will be discussed later on (the advantages), and it appears to have a terrific rating wherever you look. Now, onto the review.

 

 

Who is this app designed for:

 

This app is designed for the user who has lots of passwords, pin numbers, login information, or security codes to manage. If you visit lots of forums, or software repositories (which most require registration to download now), you will benefit greatly from this application.

 

 

 

What does it cost

 

Freeware, Open Source

 

 

 

The Good

 

Let me first start by saying that I love the encryption method chosen by default by this application. On a new database, you are given a database which is encrypted using AES with a 256bit cipher. Of course, you can change this to twofish encryption, but this reviewer prefers the AES method.

 

 

OK, now onto the main application. With this application, you can create as many categories or subcategories as you desire. So you can be as anal as you want about how detailed you are when organizing your passwords.

 

 

You can assign various icons to your categories or passwords so you can remember that "This icon is for credit cards, this for banking, etc".

 

 

The program also offers a password generator and password strength rating system so that when typing a new password for a site, you can rate its bit strength. The more green, the better. This author recommends 128bit or higher (and with a program like this, its easier than ever, since you dont have to REMEMBER these passwords and can make them very complex).

 

Screencast of the password generator screen follows

 

http://crosscut.whaddu.com/DC/Keepass/PasswordGen.html <-- See here for a sample of the power of the password generator and bit strength indicator. This link contains a screencast of the password generator screen in action.

 

The program also offers a very powerful auto-type feature which allows you to send keystrokes to any application to automatically fill in username/password combinations to various things such as webpages, login boxes, etc. Just look at the help file of this app to see the power of this app.

 

See here for the help section of auto-type

 

http://crosscut.whaddu.com/DC/Keepass/AutoType.pdf

 

The needs improvement section

 

There are a few things this app does need improvement on. One of those is a proper auto-sort feature. You can auto-sort entries added to a category, but you cannot sort the categories themselves automatically. This is a small annoyance.

 

You have no ability to use the windows context menu key (WINDOWS APP KEY) to bring up the right click context menu on various entries. I realize this is cross platform, but I think the windows version could use this so that the keyboard oriented user could use the program without a mouse.

 

There is no way to drag/drop categories that have subcategories in them (I.E., you make a category (Finances) with a subcategory of (Credit Cards) that has entries in it, you cant drag/drop the whole MAIN category to another folder, you have to move the subcategories by themselves AFTER you create the new main category again.

 

There is no way to assign a DEFAULT ICON for new entries in a specific group. I.E., all credit card passwords have this icon, etc.

 

 

Conclusions

 

This is a very fine application which shows lots of promise. The functionality it has right now is very powerful and makes it very suitable for every day use. The improvements I listed above are not show stoppers, and only are a matter of prefernce for this reviewer. If you are in the market for a password manager, I highly recommend this application for managing your passwords.

 

This is Josh (The Shamurai), saying "Unix is user friendly, its just very picky who it's friends are".

From Clif

Try KeePass but don't forget to see the original thread for this review at DonationCoder


 

 

 

 

 

 

Why and how I use a password manager - KeePass

Article at SpaghettiTech - KeePass website - Freeware

7 Nov 2005

 

Notes from Clif

I use password managers every day when I surf the web. This article presents one of the best password managers and also tells you how it can be used effectively.

 

Quote from SpaghettiTech

I often find myself telling my friends why they should use a password manager and how it should be set up to make it work at its best.

 

Why:

 

You shouldn't use short and simple passwords or, worse, the same password for every account: a managing utility helps you handle (and create) several true 'random' passwords and passphrases you won't need to remember; you'll only have to learn a master password in order to enter your database.

 

Even if your passwords are strong enough (well, in this field 'enough' is a nonsense) and you have good memory, a keylogger (in an internet cafe or lurking in a friend's computer) could easily record your key strokes, stealing your login data: some password managers come with an auto form fill feature which will recognize the site you're on and perform the correct login for you. Oh, in case you're wondering, many tools are protected against clipboard-spies too.

(read more to see What and How)

 

KeePass Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

KeePass is a free/open-source password manager or safe which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key-disk. So you only have to remember one single master password or insert the key-disk to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known.