Tuesday, 24 March 2009

So, you think it's convenient to get your browser to remember passwords?.... what if a virus/worm attacks and harvests those passwords???

Gulp!!! Yes, I'm guilty as charged.... I thought the same - "Oh, it's so convenient to use the browser's "secure login" add-on" [for Firefox users] or Ctrl-Enter for Opera's "Magic wand" functionality. BUT.... yes, there's a big but....
In the light of more and more vicious viruses and worms out there - I'm sure that it's relatively easy for one of them to export your browser's passwords to a file and post it to their "repositories"?
Maybe, maybe not - but for me, I'd rather be safe than sorry, and so I have decided to use a more secure way of storing my (very) numerous passwords.
I've decided to use KeyPass (http://keepass.info/index.html) that's free and there are tools to export the passwords from Firefox and Opera so that the migration is painless:

1) Export your Firefox passwords to xml using this Add-on:
Install it, and export all your passwords into an xml file onto your computer.
NOTE: This xml file contains ALL your passwords (and matching web page addresses) in an UNencrypted form - so be careful with this file.

2) To import the passwords into KeePass you'll need to convert the XML into CSV format - so that KeePass understands.
Use this tool to do the conversion: http://keepass.info/extensions/base/convert_to_csv/FirefoxXmlTo1xCsv-01.zip
Download the zip file to your computer;
Unzip it to a folder
Drag and drop the xml file over the xml2csv.exe (literally - this means drag 'n drop) - and it creates a new file in the directory where your XML resides - with the XML-Filename extended by "_EXPORT.csv"

3) In KeyPass: File->Import From->csv file->select the .csv file -> Open
and your passwords will be imported :)

4) Go to a web site that requires a password and (in KeyPass) right click on the entry and select "Perform Auto-Type"
The username and password will be entered automatically into the web site.

For Opera users:
See this blog for more info: "Using KeePass with Opera" http://jean-francois.im/2009/03/using-keepass-with-opera.html

...and your passwords are now securely stored inside KeePass's encrypted master password protected environment.

Oh.... don't forget to delete those passwords inside your browser's "Secure login" and "Magic Wand"!

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