Adventures with Dropbox and KeePass…

Thanks to Eddie Awad, I’ve been using 2-step verification on my Google account for a while. Now Jake from The Appslab has scared me into using a password manager and revamping all my passwords…

We use KeePass (on Windows) at work to hold all our passwords, so I figured I’d go with that and see how I get on. Unlike work, I want to use a single store for all my devices, so I finally found a use for my Dropbox account.

Dropbox Installations

If you don’t already have it, you need to install Dropbox on your device(s). For mobiles, that means their respective app stores. For computers (Linux, Mac and Windows), you can get it from the Dropbox website.

Shared KeePass Installation

Rather than install KeePass on each Windows/Mac/Linux machine separately, I downloaded the Portable KeePass 2.19 (ZIP Package) version of KeePass and unziped it into a “KeePass” directory inside my “Dropbox” directory. That same installation can be used on all Dropbox-enabled desktops and laptops.

KeePass Installations on Linux

  • To run KeePass under Linux, you need to install Mono. On Fedora 17 you can do this with the following command.
    # yum install mono-core mono-tools
  • Once Mono is installed, you can run KeePass with the following command.
    $ mono ~/Dropbox/KeePass/KeePass.exe
  • I created a new KeePass database and saved the “.kdbx” file in my “~/Dropbox/KeePass” directory, so it was available on all my devices..

KeePass works really well on Fedora 17 using Mono.

KeePass Installations on Android

For Android devices, I used the KeePassDroid app.

  • Install the Dropbox app if you don’t already have it. Connect to your Dropbox account and check you can see the “.kdbx” file in the “KeePass” directory.
  • Install the KeePassDroid app.
  • Open Dropbox, locate the “.kdbx” file and tap it.
  • Once the KeePassDroid app opens, check the “Use this as my default database” option, enter the password and click the “OK” key.

The KeePassDroid app works fine on my Nexus 7 and my old HTC Wildfire.

Update: Swapped my phone for a Nexus 4. Not surprisingly, the app works fine on this too. :)

KeePass Installations on iPad/iPhone

For my iPad I used the MiniKeePass app.

  • Install the MiniKeePass app and open it.
  • Hit the “i” in the bottom-middle of the screen.
  • Click the “Dropbox Import/Export” option and follow the instructions.

It’s not a thrilling app, but it does the job.

KeePass Installations on OS X

The KeePass app does not work well (see update below) under the OS X version of Mono. It’s slow and the interface is quite jerky, but you can use it.

  • Download the Mono SDK for Mac. I used the “2.10.9” stable version. When I tried to use the Mono Runtime, KeePass failed to open the database file, so definitely use the SDK. Install the Mono SDK like any other Mac package.
  • Once Mono is installed, run KeePass with the following command.
    $ mono ~/Dropbox/KeePass/KeePass.exe

If you plan to use OS X as your main platform, I would probably use a different password store until Mono on OS X becomes a little more reliable (see update below).

Update: The latest version of KeePass and Mono work pretty well, so my previous warning is not really necessary now. Remember, if you are planning to use KeePass on Mac, make sure you have the latest version of X11 and Mono (3.2.3 or later).

So that’s it. I only have to remember my DropBox password and my KeePass password and I can now use ridiculous passwords for all my other logins…

Cheers

Tim…