Using strong passwords has become one of the most important aspects for our security. If we want to stay away from hackers it is necessary to avoid short and obvious passwords, in addition to reused passwords. And since memorizing long and complicated keys is not exactly easy, it is necessary to resort to specialized programs for this task: password managers. And one of the best we can find is KeePassXC.
It is true that there are better known programs to manage our passwords , such as LastPass or 1Password. However, these programs are commercial (they are for making money), totally proprietary, and they store our passwords on a server without knowing exactly what happens on that server, what encryption they have or what use they make of our keys. Just everything we should avoid if we really care about security.
KeePassXC is a totally free, open source, cross-platform password manager that was born as a derivative version of KeePass. Broadly speaking, this program is very similar to the original KeePass, with the difference that it has a much more active community in its development, which translates into more frequent updates, more bug fixes and more new features than the original project. .
This program is designed for all those users who like to have control over their own personal data . If you want to take a leap in security and start using strong passwords in all your online records, and you want to be in control of your passwords at all times, this software is one of the best you can install.
The main objective of this program is to allow us to create a secure and encrypted database in which to store our passwords. KeePassXC allows us to create, open and save databases in KDBX format that are also compatible with the original KeePass. These databases can keep all kinds of confidential information, and can also be organized in groups to have our entries as organized as possible.
In addition to being able to explore the entire database through its simple interface, this software will allow us to search for entries from your search engine to find the passwords as quickly as possible.
It has a strong password generator that will allow us to generate random keys that we can use on the websites where we register, as well as a function that allows us to automatically write passwords in applications. The program will also allow us to know the health of our passwords at all times, checking if they are secure, repeated or have been compromised through Have-I-Been-Pwned.
This program can be directly integrated with the main web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Chromium, Vivaldi, Brave and even with Tor-Browser. In this way, we will always have our passwords at hand.
Other features that we can find in this software are:
- It is compatible with databases in CSV format, and other programs, such as 1Password and KeePass1.
- TOTP generation and storage.
- It allows to export the database in CSV and HTML format.
- Allows you to attach files to DB entries and create custom attributes.
- YubiKey / OnlyKey compatible.
- It can be controlled from CMD.
- Automatically open the database when opening the program.
- Lets you use databases shared with KeeShare.
- SSH agent.
- It allows you to choose between Twofish and ChaCha20 encryption.
Use strong passwords with this manager
If we have ever used KeePass, or any of its derivatives, the first thing that KeePassXC will catch our attention is its interface. As we are going to be able to see, this is much more careful and is much more comfortable to use. The first thing we will see when opening the program for the first time is a window like the following that will allow us to choose whether we want new versions of the program to be found when opening it for the first time.
In the next step we can already have a contact with the program. The new window that we will now have open will allow us to choose whether we want to create a new database, open a database that we already have, and even import passwords from other sources.
The process of creating a new database with this program is quite simple. What we must do is give it a name, choose the security options (which we can customize, or automatically adjust with the time we want it to take to open (that is, the longer it is more secure)) and enter the password, the keys or the security key with which we want to protect the database from passwords.
We already have the database created to save our passwords. Now we can start organizing the keys however we want. For example, we can create groups of keys to have everything tidier.
The process of creating a new entry for the program is very simple. We simply enter the name of the entry, a user, the password we want and the URL. In addition, we can write down notes in case we need it (for example, if the web uses a 2FA).
We can use the password we want for the web, or use the strong password generator to generate a unique and random key, so that our security is even higher.
Ready. We already have our password saved in the database of this program. Now we can consult it whenever we want, or close the program to encrypt the database and be able to save it with the security that nobody, not other people and companies, have control over our keys.
This program is completely free and open source . We will be able to find the latest version of the program directly on its main website . From here we will be able to find the versions for Windows (7, 8.1 and 10), as well as for macOS and Linux. In the case of Windows, in addition, we will be able to find an installable and a portable version. Both for 32 and 64 bits.
We will also have the source code at our fingertips on GitHub . So, if we want to compile the program ourselves, we will be able to do it.
Other password managers
In addition to KeePassXC, there are also other password managers that we can use to keep our keys securely:
- KeePass . The original project on which KeePassXC is based. This program is also free and open source, and shares almost all the features with this manager. However, it has less frequent updates and a much less careful interface.
- LastPass . The quintessential password manager. It is one of the most used because it is one of the most advertised. Its main feature is that it can be integrated very well within browsers, and its data is synchronized with the cloud. Unfortunately, it is paid, and totally opaque.
- Bitwarden . If you want a password manager in the cloud, but don’t want to pay, then this is your best option. Bitwarden is an open source software that allows us to save our passwords in the cloud, on a server controlled by us, so as not to give the databases away to any other company.