These days it’s more important than ever that you have a good strong password that’s different for each account you have, keeping track of all these can be quite complicated so having a password manage makes life much easier, you could of course write them down but that has its own risks such as someone reading them or more likely you losing them.
Many people rely on the password managers built in to web browsers, however this is a very bad idea, since there is often no encryption and it can be quite easy to fool the web browser in to giving the stored passwrds which is why I strongly advise people to stop using it.
KeePass is a very popular password manager which has been around since 2006, it has many of the features you would expect from such a mature application such as:
- Encrypted password database
- Password categories & search
- Autotype system that doesn’t need browser plugin
- Password generator
- Plugins to add more options
- Free and open source
KeePass was orginally written for Windows but now many ports are available for different operating systems, KeePassX in partiular supports many platforms.
There are of course other applications available that do more or less the same, however most are not open source and many depend on cloud based storage which in my opinion could be a security risk since the database is out of your control.
After using KeePass for quite a few years I could never go back to the old way of managing passwords, using this I can use passwords far longer than I could ever be botherd to type which greatly improves security, unfortunately there are still some websites out there that have arbitary limits on password length, PayPal in particular is a good example of this stupidity.
How not to lose your password database
With KeePass which is not cloud based there is always a risk you could lose the password database, one way around this is to have a cloud hosting account with a simple password you can easily remember, it isn’t vital to protect the database since it’s already encrypted, you can then synchronize the database whenever you make changes.
Like anything it’s still a good idea to make periodic offline backups.