There’s one problem, however: passwords. If you use a lot of different web apps you need to manage many different usernames and passwords.
This is the exact reason Dave recommended using KeePass to secure your online accounts. This simple program creates an encrypted database where you can store your passwords, but KeePass downloads offered are Windows-only.
Enter KeePassX, a version of KeePass – secure password management for Linux and Mac OS X.
KeePassX is very similar to KeePass; the interface is virtually identical. When you first open the program, you’ll be asked to create a new database or to load an existing one:
Creating a new account means picking a password for that account. As this password will be used to protect all of your other ones, I suggest that it be a secure password you can remember easily.
Once you’ve opened or created a database you’ll see the main interface, where you can create new entries. You can also create folders, a great way to sort your various kinds of passwords.
Creating a new entry is easy:
As you can see, this can even be used to generate a secure password – very useful if you’re setting up new accounts. Find more information about KeePass, which is almost identical to KeePassX, in Dave’s article on KeePass.
Installing KeePassX is really easy if you’re using Ubuntu: just click here to install the “keepassx” package from the repositories. Users of other Linux distributions should search their package managers for the program, or perhaps find instructions here.
Mac users should download the binary package found here for quick Mac-style installation. You know the drill: download the package, drag the program to “Applications” and then drag it to the dock. Simple in its complexity.
Why Use KeePassX?
You could simplify things by using the same password many different times, but this is not without security risks: anyone who finds one of your passwords is likely to guess the rest of them, and quickly. It’s far better then to have many different passwords.
That many passwords can be hard to memorize, however. Some solve this problem with a password document, typically on their computer’s desktop or taped to their desk. This isn’t exactly secure either.
It’s for this reason that a program like KeePass or KeePassX is desirable. You can access your passwords from a safe, encrypted database stored on your computer. KeePassX offers a way to do this on Mac and Linux, and can even open certain KeePass files (though not all KeePass files; read the KeePassX FAQ for more information).
You could use software like Xmarks to store your passwords; it’s a cloud-based solution that syncs your browser. This service also saves passwords in your browser’s settings, meaning that anyone with access to your browser has all of your passwords. KeePassX, on the other hand, is always encrypted.
I use KeePassX to store a great deal of my personal passwords, and I love it. Does it look useful to you? Do you have another alternative for Linux and OS X password syncing? Let me know in the comments below!