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Password managers to keep your logins safe

It seems that almost everything that is of any use on the internet requires registration. Web mail, social networking, online shopping and banking, and so on. Even simply accessing a website can all require registration and that means creating a username and password.

You may have registered for dozens of sites and services on the internet and trying to remember them all is an impossible task. You forget half of them and then end up using the same old username and password for the other half. Or perhaps you just write them down on sticky note paper and attach them to the monitor. It's a terrible situation and one that is inevitably insecure and fraught with problems.

The solution is to use a password manager utility on the computer to store the login details for the sites you visit and the services you use. They store your login details in a database which is then encrypted on the disk. No-one can access it without the correct password. So all you need is one password and the rest are stored in the database. When you need to login somewhere, you simply click the mouse to copy the username or password and past it in the web browser. It's simple.

The thee password managers here are available as direct downloads or they may be in your package manager, such as Ubuntu Software Center.



Password Gorilla
Password GorillaPassword Gorilla is a cross platform utility that enables you to store usernames and passwords in an encrypted database. It is confusing the first time it is run because there's just an open database dialog and nothing else. You have to cancel to get to the program. Then you can create a database. The menus are unfriendly and the menu bar doesn't change when the mouse rolls over it, so it sticks on the File menu for example. Right click menus disappear as soon as you let go of the mouse button, so you have to click and hold to select an item.

Ignoring the usability issues and the dull gray interface, it's not a bad password manager. You can store details about a username/password combo such as the website URL and notes. They can be assigned to groups too, such as home and work, social networking and web mail, or whatever groups you want. You can search for items in the database, although it's easy to find the login you need in the list. Right clicking an entry enables either the website URL, password or username to be copied to the clipboard. It can then be pasted into the web browser address and login boxes in the usual way. Password Gorilla automatically locks when it is inactive for a short time, you can export the database as a plain text .csv style file, and automatically clear the clipboard after a set time. It has most the features you need, but the interface lets it down.
Rating: 6/10 , Price: Free


KeePassX
KeePassXKeePassX is a port of a Windows password manager, but we won't hold that against it. In contrast to Password Gorilla, KeePassX looks good and is easy to use. The nice interface makes the program nice to use and your first task is to create a password protected database that is encrypted on the disk drive. It takes just a couple of seconds and then you can start adding entries. Groups of username/password entries can be created and two are provided by default to get you started - internet and email. A handy feature is the ability to assign an icon to each group from a built in gallery. It just makes it that bit more friendly.

When adding an entry to the database you can enter a title, username, password, website URL, and notes. The program can generate passwords for you and there are lots of configuration options and the result is suitably complex. Passwords can be set to expire on a particular date. A search facility enables you to find items based on any text in any of the fields. Right clicking an entry enables you to copy the username or password to the clipboard so you can paste it into a web page. The clipboard can be automatically cleared afterwards. Another handy feature is the abilty to open the web browser and go to a site from within KeePassX. This is a great program and is recommended.
Rating: 9/10 , Price: Free


GPass
GPassGPass is a password manager for Gnome 2. Sadly, it doesn't look like it has been updated for several years and it not as advanced as KeePassX. However, it's not a bad program and it's as good as if not better than Password Gorilla. The simple toolbar has everything you need and the Add button enables you to add a new entry to the database. The type of entry can be general or folder and this simply means a normal entry of username/password or wat other programs call groups. Create a folder and you can store all email passwords together, all website passwords together and so on.

Create a general entry and you can enter a name and a description, a username and a password. Like KeePassX there is an option to create a password. It produces a random string of characters that is impossible to remember, but you've got GPass to do that for you. A website URL can be stored with the entry and it is possible to set an expiration date. You can set up GPass to open a browser window and go to the site associated with a username/password, but it isn't obvious how to set this up and there is little help. You can right click entries to copy the username or password, then you can paste it into a web page.
Rating: 7/10 , Price: Free


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