If you use passwords like 12345 for anything else than maybe your luggage, you probably don’t need to read this post. If you’re smarter than that and you use proper passwords, you might be interested to learn how to store them safely while having them handy at all times.
KeePass is a very popular cross-platform solution that stores your passwords to a local encrypted file. To have a look inside the database you need to provide the master password. Once inside, all your passwords, PINs and credit cards are at your disposal.
Storing passwords exclusively to a local file generally isn’t a very good idea. To keep your passwords mobile and safe from data loss (disk crashes, cell phone drownings, stolen laptops…) I recommend you use a cloud store, like Dropbox.
Dropbox is a neat free service that syncs files between all your devices, portable or otherwise. I use it between my desktop, my workplace desktop and my HTC Desire. Syncing happens automatically in the background, so your password safe will be up to date, wherever you are.
1. To get started, you need to download and install a Dropbox client (Mac, Linux, Windows) and set up an account if you don’t have one already. Once installed, your computer (or mobile device) will feature a new folder, called Dropbox, which is shared between all your devices.
2. Inside your DropBox folder create a new subfolder named MyKeys or something similar, and make sure you keep this folder private.
3. Now install a KeePass client to all your devices:
- Desktop: KeePassX – http://www.keepassx.org/downloads/ (Mac, Linux*, Windows)
- Android: KeePassDroid – (Free in Android Market)
- Currently iPhone, iPad don’t feature a KeePass client which can sync to DropBox, but iKeePass will support DropBox natively in the next version.($0.99 in App Store)
4. I suggest you use the desktop client to set up your
key file** password database file. Just fire up KeePassX, create a new database, set up a master password, and store the database file into your DropBox folder you created in step 2. You can populate the database with your passwords now, or at any time later.
5. Your password database file should now be synced between all your devices. To open it on Android, simply open DropBox and look for the file you created in the previous step. If KeePassDroid is properly installed, it will pop up and ask you for your master password. Once typed in, your secure passwords will happily reveal themselves.
* In Linux just look for KeePassX in your package repository (Software Center in Ubuntu)
** See Jason’s comment below