One application many BlackBerry users question is the Password Keeper. How do you use it, and what do you use it for? I hear this all the time, and until a few months ago I couldn’t have really answered it. It just wasn’t something I even thought to use. But after hearing so many questions, I decided to give it a whirl. There’s really nothing to it, but I think that’s why many people are confused. Perhaps there’s an implication that it’s more than it really is. Let’s take a quick minute to go over how to use your Password Keeper.
To begin using Password Keeper, just locate the icon on your Applications Menu. It will probably look something like a safe, though depending on your BlackBerry theme, it might be something a bit different. In any case, there should be a text indicator at the bottom of the screen, so you’ll know when you scroll over the Password Keeper application. Upon running the app for the first time, you’ll get a prompt to enter a password, and then confirm it. This password is for the Password Keeper application only. In fact, everything you do within the PK application is isolated from the rest of your BlackBerry. You’ll see in a moment why this is both a plus and a minus. So make up your password and enter it twice. Each time you launch PK thereafter, you’ll have to enter your created password. You’ll have 10 attempts to do so, after which the application will wipe itself, and you’ll restart the process as if you were launching the app for the first time. NOTE: This will have no effect on the rest of your BlackBerry. If you fail to enter the correct password 10 times, only the data contained within Password Keeper will wipe. Everything else on your BlackBerry will continue functioning as normal.
Using the application
In essence, Password Keeper is a a secure text file. It stores information separately from the rest of your BlackBerry, so if the device is lost or stolen you won’t have to worry about criminals or even innocent bystanders gaining access to your sensitive personal information. Once you have it running, click the Menu button and select New. Here you can enter in all the information for your password, including the login website (you can copy and paste that from your browser), your username and password. Then, when you want to retrieve the information, you can go back to this entry and either review it, or even copy and paste it. You can hit the Menu button and select options to copy the username and/or password. What you can’t use the application for is automatic logins. This would make sense, but apparently it’s too much of a security concern, because you can’t do it. So even if you have a password stored for a certain site, you still have to go to the Password Keeper application each time you want to retrieve it.
Many people like having a different, difficult-to-figure password for each account. This provides a greater level of security, but it makes remembering everything tough. Password Keeper obviously helps with this. You can store your online passwords (even on sites you don’t visit on your Berry), plus credit card information, bank routing numbers, and other information you want secure. So you can easily create unique passwords for these, PK provides a random password generator. Just select the option from the menu, and it will spit one out according to the options you set. You’ll obviously have to change your password to reflect this random one, but that’s easy enough. To set the options for your random password, click Menu and select Options. Here you can set the password length and the characters it includes (alpha, numeric, symbols). Changing up these settings from time to time can make your passwords even more secure. Even if you leave the same settings, it’s better than having the same password for all of your important accounts.
Password Keeper also allows a few more customizable options. You can add a confirmation dialog before you delete password entries, set the number of password attempts before Password Keeper wipes its data clear, allow or disallow copying to the clipboard, and decide whether or not to show the passwords. All of this will provide you with a level of security you’re comfortable with. Does anyone out there use Password Keeper? I don’t know many BlackBerry users who do, but when I tell them about it I always get, “yeah, I might have to try that out.” Do you use another password storage system? Or do you think that even with the security measures that it’s still a bit too insecure for you? Apologies for the lack of screen shots. I can’t get them from my device — it kicks me right out of Password Keeper and has me re-enter my password. Good security measure, I suppose.