KeePass 101

By | December 4, 2017

KeePass is a password manager that is not cloud-based. It creates an encrypted local database that can be stored on a single Mac, PC, office network or any mobile device you choose. It is only accessible with the master key and can be accessed by multiple users simultaneously. It will also auto-type your username and password so that you do not have to store your passwords in your browser.

KeePass Master Key:
Each time you launch KeePass you are prompted for the master key.

This key can be a file, password or tied to your PC login credentials. It must be kept safe as it protects all the data stored within in KeePass. I recommend keeping a written copy in a safe in the event you forget it. See our post on Passwords to ensure you create a strong enough master key. If your KeePass file is stolen, it cannot be accessed unless the master key can be guessed, so make it a strong one. When you create or change the master key, you will see an estimated quality rating just below the password this should be at least 50%.

Creating a New Entry:
An entry stores the username and password for one particular web site or account. To add an entry, choose the appropriate group (category) on the left side of the application, and select the key/green arrow icon from the ribbon at the top of the interface. Create a title for the entry; this is how you will identify it. Add the username and password, and if it is for a website, enter the url (web address). The username can be an email address or some sites, often banks assign a unique username that is not based on your publicly known email as added security.

Note, the password field is populated with dots. When you create an entry. KeePass automatically generates a suggested password.  To enter your own password, click the button to the right of the password field with the ellipses on it. Replace what is in the top row.

Be sure to Save before you close KeePass or your changes will be lost. In a shred environment you may be asked to Synchronize when saving this is normal and happens when someone else has made a change to the file.   

To access a password entry, you can choose the group from the selections on the left and then double click on the entry on the right.

An even easier way to find the credentials you are looking for is to use the search bar at the top. This will search any field including the Notes and will display all entries containing that word without having to hunt down the right group.

The Notes section of an entry can be used to store all sorts of useful information, such as Drivers license information, credit card verification codes and expiration dates, VIN number, shoe size, gift ideas, etc. Many sites also require two-step verification, so this is also a handy place to keep secret questions and their corresponding answers.

The KeePass database can be copied to a mobile device and accessed through any number of apps that have been written for this purpose. The advantage is that your private data is never in the cloud and you will have it with you when traveling.