How to Set up a Password Manager and Keep It In Sync with Your Mobile Device

A good, secure password manager is an indispensable tool to have by your side these days. This article will show you how to securely set up a password manager that you can use on your desktop computer. Then securely access your password list from your iPad, iPhone, Android device or Blackberry where you need it the most.

One thing the Internet is still lacking is a centralized login or passport system where we can login online just once and that one account or passport will be accepted credentials to sign up for services, memberships etc anywhere on the Internet.

Until this happens, every time we want to sign up for something on the Internet, we have to supply yet another username and password combination.  Many of us have accumulated dozens of these username/ passwords making it simply impossible to keep track of in our heads.

While you could enter your passwords in an Excel file and apply a master password to the file, this is not very secure. You are far better off using a dedicated Password Manager which uses industry standard encryption technology. One of the most popular password managers around is KeePass. They have builds for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux and they have ports for iPad, iPhone, Android Devices and Windows Phone 7. Your database files are stored with with very strong encryption (256 bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES / Rijndael)).

Setting Up Keepass on Your Desktop

If you want to make your password list accessible on your mobile device, you will need to have a sync service like Dropbox setup on your desktop computer and mobile device.  Sitting at your desktop computer, sign up and setup your sync service if you haven’t already done so yet. Set up the sync service app on your mobile device as well.

Download and install Keepass on your desktop computer. Be sure to download the latest version (V2 at the time of this writing) and appropriate build for your operating system.

At first start up, you will need to create a new database. Create this database within your Dropbox or sync folder so that it will be synced to your mobile devices.  Also, use a strong master password that is a minimum of 8 characters and contains upper and lower case characters with numbers and special characters.

KeePass-Create New Dbase

Your all done here, you can now define your groups and account entries as shown below.

KeePass-Main Screen

Setting Up Keepass on Your Mobile Device

On your mobile device, you will first need to install the correct Keepass App for your device.

ipad or iPhone users : Go to the Apple Store and install MiniKeepass.

Android Device users : Go to Google Play and install KeepassDroid.

Open your Dropbox folder on you mobile device. Browse to your database file (something.kdbx) and open it. It should prompt you to open it with Minikeepass or KeepassDroid depending on which App you installed.

Enter your Keepass master password and you should be able to access your password list.

Don’t Want To Have Your Password Database Stored On-line ?

This is a screen shot of the security settings used.

KeePass-Security Settings

This ensures that your database is fully encrypted when stored on your computer.

Nevertheless, if you will still prefer not to have your password list stored online or not even on your computer, Keepass also has a portable version that you can install on a USB flash drive. It’s a different download from the desktop version. You simply download it to a USB flash drive that you carry with you.  It runs completely from the flash drive. When you unplug it from the computer, the program and your database is completely removed from the computer. There is no trace left on the computer.