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How to use KeePass

Introduction

KeePass Password Safe is a password manager which will assist you in generating, storing and retrieving complex passwords using only a single Master Password.

There will be no need to remember different Username/Password combinations for the various services you are using, like Telebanking, Gmail, Facebook, your favorite delivery service,  etc. You don’t write them down, do you?

These passwords can now be stored in an encrypted database or calculated on demand, locally or in the Cloud. Available whenever and wherever you need them. In addition you can also use KeePass to encrypt and store notes and file attachments. And KeePass is available for various Desktop- and Mobile Phone Operating Systems (Windows, Linux, iPhone, Mac OS X, Android, etc.) 

KeePass is available in two different editions. Version 1.xx and Version 2.xx.  The editions differ in functionality and backwards compatibility (2.xx is not based on 1.xx). Both editions run on Windows operating systems, KeePass 2.xx additionally runs on Mono (Linux, Mac OS X ,..). If you are new to KeePass you will want to install Version 2.xx to benefit from additional features and functions.

If you are keen to know the exact differences between the 2 editions have a look at the comparison table at the following location –>  https://keepass.info/compare.html

KeePass is free, open source and is available for download at:

https://keepass.info/download.html

KeePass

Windows

  • Download the installer from the link above and run the installer when the download has completed.
    • If you need a Windows administrator to proceed contact IT support for assistance
    • We recommend the full installation and to associate KeePass with .kdbx file extension when prompted.
  • After launching the KeePass app
    • Create a new database with “Ctrl+N” or navigate to File -> New
    • Open an existing database with “Ctrl+O” or navigate to File -> Open -> Open File
    • A prompt will appear with important information about how the database will work and advising you to keep a regular backup. You’ll then be prompted to choose a location to save the database file. It is recommended to save this on your home drive rather than locally. You can then access this database on other devices linked to the IST network
    • Create your master key. Please use the “estimated quality” as a guide to create a very strong password using lower case, upper case, numbers and symbols. Ideally it will end up looking similar to this screenshot:
  • Your new database should have 2 example test passwords that you can use to check how the tool works (right click to copy either the username or password to your clipboard)
  • Add your passwords by pressing the key icon, or Ctrl+I. You can include the relevant URL or any description to help you identify what the password is for. You can also set reminders when the passwords should be changed or have expired. You can also generate a random secure password.
    • Lock the database with the padlock icon or Ctrl+L at any time. This means you’ll have to enter your master key to access any of the saved passwords.
    • You can update KeePass with additional passwords as needed
    • Make sure you save your database to ensure any changes are saved
    • Generate a random password
  • To retrieve a password, right click on an entry to copy either the username or password to your clipboard, it will automatically be cleared from your clipboard after about 12 seconds.

Linux

  • We recommend KeePassXC for Ubuntu
  • You can install the application via the snap command in terminal

sudo snap install keepassxc

  • Launch the application in the GUI
    • You will be asked to create a database. It’s fine to keep the encryption settings as the default and continue
    • Set a strong password. It should be complex as it’s the master key to all your other passwords however you should also be able to remember it. If you forget this password you will lose the ability to access the database
  • Add your passwords by pressing the plus icon. You can include the relevant username, URL or any description to help you identify what the password is for. You can also set reminders when the passwords should be changed or have expired.
    • Lock the database with the padlock icon or at any time. This means you’ll have to enter your master key to access any of the saved passwords.
    • You can update KeePass with additional passwords as needed
    • Make sure you save your database to ensure any changes are saved
  • To retrieve a password, right click on an entry to copy either the username or password to your clipboard.

The database is saved to your local documents folder by default. We recommend moving this to your home drive on the server so that you can access it on any of your computers on the IST network

OS X

  • We recommend KeePassXC for MacOS
  • You can install the application via the Homebrew cask command in terminal

brew install –-cask keepassxc

  • Launch the application in the GUI
    • You will be asked to create a database. It’s fine to keep the encryption settings as the default and continue
    • Set a strong password. It should be complex as it’s the master key to all your other passwords however you should also be able to remember it. If you forget this password you will lose the ability to access the database
  • Add your passwords by pressing the plus icon. You can include the relevant username, URL or any description to help you identify what the password is for. You can also set reminders when the passwords should be changed or have expired.
    • Lock the database with the padlock icon or at any time. This means you’ll have to enter your master key to access any of the saved passwords.
    • You can update KeePass with additional passwords as needed
    • Make sure you save your database to ensure any changes are saved
  • To use KeePass, right click to copy either the username or password to your clipboard
  • The database is saved to your home folder (open finder and press Command-Shift-H) by default. We recommend moving this to your home drive on the server so that you can access it on any of your computers on the IST network

Android

We recommend keepass2Android

You will be asked to create or import a database, if you’ve already created a database on your PC you can either transfer the database file .kpdx or access it via the cloud (see the relevant section below)

When creating a new database file:

  • Set a strong password. It should be complex as it’s the master key to all your other passwords however you should also be able to remember it. If you forget this password you will lose the ability to access the database
  • Add your passwords by pressing the plus icon. You can include the relevant username, URL or any description to help you identify what the password is for.
  • Lock the database with the padlock icon at any time. This means you’ll have to enter your master key to access any of the saved passwords. It is recommended to always manually lock the database on your phone when you’re done.
  • You can update KeePass with additional passwords as needed
  • Short press on a password or username to copy it to your clipboard

iOS

We recommend Keepassium for iPhone (the free version has full functionality for one database).

You will be asked to create or import a database, if you’ve already created a database on your PC you can either transfer the database file .kpdx or access it via the cloud (see the relevant section below)

When creating a new database file:

  • Set a strong password. It should be complex as it’s the master key to all your other passwords however you should also be able to remember it. If you forget this password you will lose the ability to access the database
  • Add your passwords by pressing the plus icon. You can include the relevant username, URL or any description to help you identify what the password is for.
  • Lock the database with the padlock icon at any time. This means you’ll have to enter your master key to access any of the saved passwords. It is recommended to always manually lock the database on your phone when you’re done.
  • You can update KeePass with additional passwords as needed
  • Short press on a password or username to copy it to your clipboard

Syncing with cloud (desktop)

  • Once you’ve made your database via PC save it to a unique folder on your home drive.
  • Open the Seafile app, this should be installed on IST Windows devices by default.
  • In the Seafile app, select a new folder to be syncronised and choose the unique folder where you saved your keepass database.
  • The database will now be available via Seafile on any of your devices that are connected to the IST network. When you add new passwords on any of your PCs Seafile will sync the database file automatically. You can also check in the Seafile app when the database has synchronized with the cloud and manually update it if necessary
  • If you notice that you have two different database files (due to a failed synchronisation, for example) and want to merge them you can do so safely on PC by opening the first database and selecting ‘File’ → ‘Synchronize’ and ‘Synchronize with File’, then choose the second database.

Syncing with cloud (mobile)

  • To sync the app your mobile devices. Download the Seafile app to your iPhone or Android and from your Keepass app import the database from your Seafile folder
    • Note that currently Keepass/Seafile doesn’t support synchronization from mobile devices back to the cloud, so changes that you make on a mobile device won’t be saved to the Seafile database
    • On iPhone the Seafile database will appear as an option in your Files when your select import an existing database in Keepassium. Then you can navigate to the kdbx file.
    • On Android Seafile might not appear right away. Navigate to File -> System file picker -> open up the hamburger-menu -> select Seafile -> search for the library -> select the kdbx-file
  • As always we recommend enabling Token authentication for Single Sign on to add additional protection to your Seafile database

Usage tips

  • Manually save your database after adding new passwords and check that they saved correctly while you still remember what password you set
  • Don’t share your master database or password with anyone
  • If you change your passwords at any point do not forget to update Keepass

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