Monday, June 09, 2008

June 9, 2008 - TGIF - KeePass

How many passwords do you have to remember? For many of us, the answer should be a large number, but in reality it is only one or two, because we use the same password over and over again. Of course, this means that if someone figures out one password that we use, they could get into everything. But who can you remember a computer password, server password, e-mail password, banking password, cable company password, ELCA Youth Ministry Network Website password, etc.? I have over 90 different passwords to keep track of!

I do it using an open-source program called KeePass Password Safe, available at This free program allows me to store all my passwords in a single encrypted database. One password to remember instead of a hundred. Since it's stored in the computer (and backed up to a Universal Flash Drive), it's more secure than sticky notes or hidden entries in the address book.

The passwords are also more secure because instead of using easy to remember words, I'm using cryptic strings of characters, including letters, numbers, and symbols. KeePass includes a password generator that creates passwords of a given length and allows for you to use mouse or keyboard input to generate additional entropy.

When it's time to use one of these passwords, I navigate to the website in my browser or click on it from with KeePass to have it open in my default browser. I put the cursor into the user name field and then highlight the site I'm on in KeePass and press CTRL-V, which switches back to the browser and inputs the user name and password. If that doesn't work, I can use CTRL-C to copy the password and then paste it in the browser. It's not as easy as using the same password for everything, but it is easier than having my bank account compromised!

KeePass will run from a Universal Flash Drive, so you could carry your passwords with you. It is available from at .

I also wanted to note that a program I recommended awhile ago has been updated from version 5.0 to version 6.0. doPDF, at, is a program that's great for creating PDF files from any Windows application.

God's blessings on your daily life and ministry,
Pastor Andy Arnold
ELCA Youth Ministry Network Tech Geek

P.S. - For those of you who are interested in seeing the photos I talked about last week, you can view them on at: as a picasaweb slide show. I was also able to upload them straight from Picasa into Facebook, where a couple of my youth tagged them all in about an hour. I'm really glad Gmail stacks messages, or I would have had well over a hundred messages stating that someone had tagged someone else in one of my photos!

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