Free Password Manager KeePass - a feature rich, free, very secure, and easy-to-use
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Beef up your security with a key file
KeePass is one of my favorite free software. It's free, open source, and very secure. My hat off to Dominik Reichl.
There are three ways to log into the KeePass application. In technical terms, it is called unlock the password database.
Key-file can be used as an add-on protection for your KeePass database.
To open KeePass, you normally only need a master password. This becomes quite vulnerable if you take KeePass with you and use it in a non-trusted environment such as Internet Cafe. You never know if those computers have keyloggers or other types of spyware programs running in the dark. No matter how complex your master password is, you expose yourself to the possibility of losing your master password and KeePass database file.
This is where key-file comes into play. If someone steals your master password and password database, the database is still secure because the attacker also needs to steal your key-file to be able to unlock KeePass.
You normally store your key-file somewhere on your PC, or removable disk such as thumb drive. Key-file can be any existing file or KeePass can create one for you.
My master password is a random string of characters that contains upper and lower case alphanumeric characters as well as other keyboard characters. I save this password in a text file and mix it with other random generated text. I also memorize it.
Never lose your master password and your key-file I want to repeat this and I will repeat it whenever I can. There is no backdoor to KeePass that can be explored to recover your master password and key-file. Security may backfire and cause you more trouble.
How to create key-files and key-disks for KeePass
KeePass allows you to lock your password database by using master password
and/or key-file. When you create a new password database, KeePass optionally
asks you to select a password disk drive (ie. key-disk). Therefore, it is
important to understand the differences between a key-file and a key-disk as
well as how to create them.
Two ways to create a key-file
You can either create your own key-file or let KeePass create the key-disk and thus the key-file.
Let KeePass create the key-disk and thus the key-file
You can also make KeePass to create the key-disk for you. This way, KeePass will create a file pwsafe.key on the disk you specify.
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