Security Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive; It Can Even Be FREE

So, the BUDOtek Sensei is often busy, and works on lots of systems for multiple clients. He also believes in having multiple, non duplicated user names and passwords. It’s a good security practice. So, what to do? How do we keep track of them all? Ideally, even securely having them available on increasingly important mobile platforms, like the Sensei’s trusty smartphone?

Enter the completely free, reasonably secure, and feature rich Password Safe, from the mind of well known security expert Bruce Schneier. Oh, and did I mention its availability on Android and iPhone?

It’s free and open source, and I will freely admit it sometimes has some user interface quirks, but nothing you can’t easily get used to. In this review-torial, we’ll be looking at it on Windows 7 and Android (which as of now, the Sensei’s phone is running the latest pre-Marshmallow release). This first part, we’ll just be looking at installing and using it locally on Windows.

After downloading and installing it (it’s a native executable on Windows), after launching it will ask what password file we wish to use, or if creating we choose a directory.

Note that the file name by default is pwsafe.psafe3 (psafe3 being the file extension for Password Safe files). In this case, the Sensei is putting it into the “password safe” subdir of his Google Drive (which will make things very portable for part two of the review-torial).

Next up, we choose a password for the entire password safe; from now on, this will be the only password we’ll really need.

And now Password Safe comes up in all its glory.

The next thing you should really do is create an overall group; Password Safe deals in Groups (in a tree style structure) and entries (individual user/password entries). I urge you to create one root structure (I unsurprisingly call mine “passwords”) and subdivide from there.

WARNING: The program’s UI is best described as “funky”. After adding groups (ESPECIALLY your first root group), you will have the refresh your view (either by F5 on Windows or under the “View” menu) in order to see things accurately.

After adding the group, we can right click on it and either create a sub group, or create our first password entry.

The Sensei has decided to store his trusty GMail user name and password. Note that be pressing the Show button we can see it in plain text. We can also press Generate and generate a very secure password immune from dictionary attacks.

And now it shows up on the UI…

And the Sensei decides to subdivide his groups, and drag and drop the GMail password under the new email group.

The GMail entry can be double clicked and the password will be automatically copied to the clipboard. And your Password Safe file can’t be accessed without the master password.

As you can see, real security that is FREE. And in part two, we will see how easy it is to securely take your passwords with you on the go!

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