Creating useful passwords is a hard task. To make them secure they should be long and complex enough to support guessing, dictionary or other forms of brute force attacks. On the other hand, long or too cryptic passwords are difficult to remember, so most people end writing them down, or using the same simple password everywhere.
Another issue are user names; every website and service use different user names and that can also become very difficult to track.
To solve this in a safe way there is a great Linux application called KeePassX (see KeePass for other platforms).
KeePassX use a database to store your user names and passwords in a single file. That file is encrypted with a Master Password, which will be the only password you will need to remember in the future.
KeePassX has all the tools you need to organize and keep track of your services, user names and passwords. The Password Generator will create for you random passwords with the specified characteristic, could it be just numbers, or combination of numbers + Symbols + Uppercase + Lowercase. For details check the project site, it is very easy to use and I’m sure in minutes you will start loving it.
Great! But… now we have two new problems:
1. We need KeePass(X) available all the time to have access to the passwords.
2. We have to keep the database file as safe as possible. We can not afford to loose it!
The first problem is solved by another great product called PortableApps. There is a KeePass Portable that I have installed on my memory stick so I can run it safely on any Windows Machine out there. That’s the magic of PortableApps, check the site for details.
The second problem is solved by DropBox. On my Laptop I keep the database file on the DropBox folder, so it is automatically backed up to the internet when I am online and every time I make a change on it. DropBox will keep a copy of the file and even better will keep the different the versions as I keep updating it. If I change the file by deleting an entry, or modifying one password by mistake, I can go to the DropBox site and recover previous versions. Even if I delete the file by mistake, I can get the last saved version from the Internet. There is also the copy on the memory stick, which I have to update manually, from the laptop, or from the site, so all the time I have 3 copies of the file.
That is safe enough for me, and now I can even change the password often as recommended everywhere and not worry about forgetting them anymore.