Probably you’ve heard this before: create a different password for your email, one for your computer, your bank account and so on. If you didn’t, double check this, all security experts will tell you the same - diversity is good. If you increase the complexity a password, it's even better.
Did you noticed all those “password” indicators that tell us how - weak, good or bad our password is? Most email providers and security tools will have such a feature. Second, each password should be “unbreakable” and I’ve wrote another article named “How To Create a Strong Password“ but how do we store and remember so many passwords? One answer is the open source software named Password Safe.
This is a top password manager, listed on another article: “Best Password Managers”. The good news: it's free and can handle all of your passwords, it doesn’t matter how complex they are. All you have to do is to remember only one password. You focus all the energy on that password and the program will remember all the others – no matter how complex they are. Sounds good? Download Password Safe, install the program on your computer and I will show you how to use it.
After setup ends, open Password Safe. You should see a similar window and here you need to click on “New” button as you don’t have a master password – the unique password that I was talking about. Create a strong, hard to guess, complex password but make sure that you don’t forget it. If you need help, read the article that I wrote or even better, read Bruce Schneier Password Advice – one of the top security experts in the world.
Before adding a primary password, you have to specify where to save it. If you don’t know where to save this, just leave it as it is. By default, Password Safe uses his own folder named “My Safes”. You can provide a name for the database but I don’t plan to use more than one database so I used the default name.
Now you can type your password. This password is for the file you just saved. It's a database file and password will be encrypted with the entire database. Inside it you will be able to store all the other passwords. Just add your password twice and don’t worry as this software protects passwords with the Twofish encryption algorithm.
If you enter a weak password, you will see the following message. If you insist, you can use your weak password otherwise select “No” and change the password to a better one.
If you added the password you will be taken to the main software interface. Don’t get discouraged, it's easy and intuitive.
Probably you will be tempted to go to File and press “New”. Don’t do that, otherwise you will create a new database. Go to “Edit” and click “Add Entry”.
A new window will open and it will allow you to fill more details such as a group, title, username, password, URL and Notes. It's like a personal agenda where you can note all usernames and passwords – the only difference is the safety level. I have completed all fields with my email address. It's just an example, you can type something else later.
Several email providers such as Hotmail, will want you to type the entire username as user AT domain.com and that’s why I have added my username in this format.
Once you add the required information, it will be added to the current database and it will look like this. If you perform a right-click you will see several options. You can copy your username or password by using one of the first commands - “Copy Username or Password to Clipboard”. In this example, I will choose “Browse to URL”.
When I did this, I was taken to the Hotmail email login page. To keep a smaller image I have included only the login window.
I don’t think that someone would be able to forget his email username but the password is something different. Let’s pretend that I don’t know what password I have. It’s something such as “fjWd9j-38SLh2.7d8D21q” - secure but hard to remember. Thank to this program all I have to do is to click on “Copy Password to Clipboard” and go to email login page and PASTE or use “CTRL+V” in the password field.
When you do this, there is a warning window which will tell you: “Pressing OK will copy the password of the selected item to the clipboard. The clipboard will be securely cleared when Password Safe is closed”.
So I have added my email username manually, although you can do this using the “Copy Username to Clipboard” but that’s not the case. The most important: you don’t even need to remember the password, use the “Copy Password to Clipboard” feature and the program will insert the password safely - you don’t need to type your password.
One more thing, next time when you open Password Safe it will remember your last open password database and it will require you to enter the safe combination - your master password.
If you need to store multiple passwords – this is an excellent choice. It has many other features but I wanted to show you what a good password manager can do for you in a couple of minutes. Because is free, even better, open source, I would recommend you to consider a small DONATION.