I have always been one to experiment with different operating systems on my various computers. For the last 5 years I have been using a Mac of various types(iMac, Powerbook, Macbook, Macbook Air). I have in the last 6 months got a new job where I have access to a laptop I can use for business use only. So, I created a bootable USB Linux Distro(Ubuntu & Linux Mint off and on), and use the laptop for personal use now! haha.
But one of the problems with running a few different OS’s, is that my password management is suffering. I have Firefox save all my online passwords and I have been managing fine with their Weave Add-on. But recently it has been acting up(it is kind of in beta, so I won’t fault them too much) and not syncing as it used to. Could be the bleeding edge Firefox I am running in Mint, or not…
So, I have been hunting for a password repository that I can store it all and sync between my various machines and USB installs. After a bunch of research, I found this fantastic solution over at Lifehacker(one swell website I might add…).
The first thing you need to do is download and install KeepassX for either your Linux box, or your Mac. Then, you head over to Dropbox (what? You don’t have Dropbox installed yet? Shame…), and get it running on both installs. Just like mentioned in the Lifehacker article, you save your KeepassX database inside your Dropbox folder where all your computers have access to it.
But I am getting ahead of myself…Where are all my passwords? Well, honestly, they are all over the place. On my Mac, OSX saves all your Safari passwords inside Keychain. It works great with most Applications, but not with Firefox. So first, I needed to get all my passwords in one place. There are a few solutions out there to get your Firefox passwords into KeepassX directly, but one of them was a Windows install and I don’t do Windows. The other involved a bunch of work that I am just too lazy to do, and honestly would probably fuck up.
I decided to tackle this problem another way. Step by step…First, there is a Firefox Add-on that integrates your Firefox passwords directly into Keychain for OSX. I installed it in Firebox on my MacBook Air. Once I had all the passwords all in there(376, holy shit…), there is an Applescript that you can run that does the conversion of the Keychain database into a KeepassX friendly format. I followed the advice to manually selected Allow one at a time and it exported the resulting XML file to my desktop.
From Lifehacker follow these instructions…
Assuming you’ve already created your KeePass database, you need to move it to the Dropbox folder so Dropbox can sync it over the internet. I just selected File -> Save As, then pointed KeePass at my Dropbox folder. (Simple enough, right?) Now on any other subsequent computer, just open KeePass (or KeePassX for OS X or Linux users—which works just as well), select File -> Open Database, and point it to the synced KeePass database file that you added to your Dropbox folder. Assuming the step above went as planned, this file should already have synced to the Dropbox folder on all of the computers you want to sync passwords to. That’s really all there is to it. Any time you edit or create a new password on one computer, it’ll automatically sync to the other; all you need to know to access any of your passwords is one master password. There’s a small catch here: KeePass doesn’t automatically update your passwords when it’s open, so if you make a change on one computer and then make a change on the other without re-opening the new database, you’ll end up with a conflict. Dropbox handles conflicts well—that is, nothing will break and it alerts you of the conflict—but you may lose changes from one of your computers.
And that is it! You now have a permanent syncable password database on all your different OSX and Linux machines!
If you have found any other good solutions(i.e.- free!) for password management, leave a comment…