Put your passwords in your pocket and take them everywhere you go

Password managers help you keep more passwords than you can memorize. Eric asked if he could carry one on a flash drive.

Password managers help you keep more passwords than you can memorize. Eric asked if he could carry one on a flash drive.

I discussed password managers recently in Manage passwords, and not just on the Web, but I didn't discuss portability. How do you take your passwords with you when you step away from your computer?

What you need is a portable version of your password manager. A portable program is one that can run on a PC without installation, and thus can be launched from a flash drive.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

My own personal favorite password manager, Password Safe, isn't officially portable. But in practice, it sort of is.

After you install Password Safe onto a computer, you can drag and drop the program folder onto a flash drive and safely remove the drive. Then you can connect it to another Windows PC and launch Password Safe. You'll want to keep your password database file on the flash drive too, of course.

But this doesn't work perfectly. It has two flaws, neither of them serious.

First, when you launch Password Safe from the flash drive and browse to open a password database file, the program will default to your Documents folder. You'll have to navigate drives and folders to get to the file, which will be on the flash drive.

Second, when you close the program, it leaves an icon running in the notification area. You must right-click that icon and exit the program before Windows will allow you to safely remove the flash drive.

You can find unofficial portable versions of Password Safe around the Internet. I've tried a couple, and they both had these same two problems.

Password Safe isn't the only option. The popular Keepass program is available in a portable version, which lacks Password Safe's portable annoyances.

Another option: If you have a smartphone or a tablet, both Password Safe and Keepass are available as Android and iOS apps.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitypasswordssecurity software

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lincoln Spector

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place