How to setup KeePassX password manager [VIDEO]

November 19, 2014

This post covers setting up a password manager. In particular, KeePassX.

What is a Password Manager?

Basically a password manager is a centralised application or program that allows you to store user information and passwords securely. Here we are referring to a program that you install on your computer to manager you individual passwords for websites, banks or any other type of service that you have to remember security information.

Why do I need a Password Manager?

Nowadays we have so many online accounts and services that need passwords or pin numbers. It becomes impossible to remember them all. Of course most people tend to use the same one or two passwords for lots of accounts, services and websites. This is a VERY BAD IDEA. It is very possible that some nasty person can get hold of this / these passwords and completely mess with your online accounts. Ok, if someone gets into your Facebook account it’s not the end of the world but if they got into your PayPal account that’s a little more serious. The best thing to do is use a different password for each service / website. Of course then that becomes impossible, as you simply cannot remember them all. Hence, why you need a password manager.

A Word or Excel document without any security on it is not a password manager either. Use a tool that is built for the job and use it well.

What password manager should I use?

There are lots of password managers out there. Some are free and some are paid for. I personally use a free one called KeePassX, which runs on PC / MAC and LINUX. It’s Open Source, which means it’s build and maintained by a community of developers who really care about the product. They don’t do it to make money, they want a program they can use that solves a very real purpose.

How to setup KeePassX password manager

I get asked quite often by friends and clients: “How do I go about setting up a password manager?”. It’s really pretty simple. The hard part is training yourself to use it properly and actually store all your security information within it.

Below is short video demonstration of have to setup KeePassX. This is a secure but very basic introduction. There are a lot more useful features to this program and other things you can do to make it work harder for you. I’ll add some of these below the video.

Running Time: 12mins
Technical Knowledge Required: Basic computer skills

Tips and Best Practice for KeePassX

Databases and Key-files

The database file is very important as this is the file that contains all your information. It is encrypted to a very high standard and there is zero methods of gaining access to it without your password / key-file combination. Make sure you store the database and key-file somewhere where you can’t mistakenly delete it (also see my next point). I would also recommend naming them something not so obvious like:

Database = temp-filelist.kdb
Key-file = temp-internet-cache.key

This makes it a little harder for idiots who might have stolen your computer to find.

Cloud Storage

I like to keep my database in a folder in my Dropbox account. This gives me some added piece of mind in that if I lose my computer I can download the database from another computer immediately. You could you OneDrive or Google Drive, it’s up to you.

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