Password Corral – Using the Program
I know I used the same Featured Image last time, but I’m going to use it again. Funny side comment – I game this Password Corral a username of Dummy, I didn’t expect to see my featured image with the words “Password Corral – Dummy” written across the top. Oh well.
On to the potentially last post regarding Password Corral. Here we’ll talk about creating an entry, creating groups, and playing with some of the other features.
So, now that our Dummy Password Corral is set up (hopefully you chose a user name that made a lot more sense than mine), go ahead and log back into it.
Your first time in the program you should find a very empty Password Corral waiting for you to feed it loads of password information.
Here you’ll see our wonderful picture that I posted last week but never really explained. Here’s a couple great features in Password Corral:
- Groups: Here you’ll be able to have passwords divided into groups for easier finding. If you have more than 10 passwords this is a must (in my opinion). You can have a separate group for your work passwords, another one for your personal passwords, and another for anything else.
- Passwords: This area allows you to store a description, username, password, website URL, e-mail address that may be connected to that website, and if there’s an expiration for the password.
- Password Expiration is an option you can select in order to change your password occasionally to better protect your information. Personally I don’t use it, however it’s an extra level of security that many business require of their staff.
- The Website URL is incredibly helpful because you can click on the link in order to go straight to the website in your default web browser.
- Description/Exlanation box (I should have called this the comment box) is where any additional information is written so you have anything else you may want to know. This section is empty unless you fill in the comment box when creating a new password.
- Hide Passwords: This is the eye-glasses button; It allows the user to have passwords hidden (encrypted – scrambled) so that people who walk by won’t notice your passwords. It actually hides your user names as well, but be aware that any user names that are the same as your passwords will still be encrypted the same way, which means that a person passing by may notice that your password and username are the same, even though they may not know what it is.
- Password Generator: This will actually create a password for you making it more difficult for someone who knows you to guess your password. When your password changes from sillyBug (the password you’ve used since you were 12), to the randomly created password of ai8&y^791, you can be pretty sure that anyone who grew up with you (and may have been able to guess sillyBug) would never be able to guess ai8&y^791.
Add a New Password
Creating a new password is pretty easy. There are a couple different options:
- Easiest: Double Click the Password section (In an empty cell)
- is the shortcut icon you can click on located next to the folder icons.
- Edit–>New Password…
Any of these will get you to the same place. If I was going to add my password for my Amazon account (I’m using this as a fake example), this is how I might do it (comments will be in parenthesis… like this):
Username: myUserName23@gmail.com (Yes, this is fake)
Password: b1cyc!3 (also fake, but this is a good example of making passwords less guessable – replace letters with numbers/symbols that look similar – bicycle vs b1cyc!3)
Internet URL: http://www.amazon.com/
You’ll notice that I’m skipping the checkbox for expiring passwords. I don’t use them personally, though as I stated earlier, it is an added level of protection. You’ll also notice I didn’t fill in the comments box. This account, to me, would seem pretty self explanatory. In other instances I might have multiple accounts for the same company (a personal Amazon account and a business Amazon account, for example) in which case I could make the descriptions different, or I could make the comments explain which is which.
One other thing I skipped mentioning was the symbol that appears. That button will create a completely random password for you. Obviously creating a new password here is useless if you don’t transfer it to the website that needs that password though.
Once this form is filled out our main screen changes to something like this:
Keep adding more passwords for all your other accounts. Here’s my “Dummy” list
Hide Usernames and Passwords
It’s not uncommon to want to have your passwords up while you’re working on your computer. In cases like this what you don’t want is for a coworker to walk past your desk and see all your passwords. For this reason there’s a “Hide Passwords” button. It looks like this:. It doesn’t actually hide your usernames and passwords. Instead it encrypts them. It scrambles them. It makes it so that it’s incredibly difficult for a person to be able to figure out what your actual user name and password are. Notice the difference between the above image and this one:
You’ll notice that the only thing that isn’t encrypted is the Description. Useful right? Even still, don’t let this put you in some sort of comfort zone. If you walk away from your computer with this program running all someone has to do is click the eye-glass buttons and they have all your passwords. In other words, it’s a safety feature, but it’s not something to rely on. Make sure you close the program when you walk away from your computer.
Making a group is easy (and incredibly useful!). My “Dummy” list is very short and I wouldn’t really need to divide them into groups to be more manageable. But lets say for a second I don’t have 5 passwords, but 40. You might be thinking “Who has 40 passwords?!?!”… And then I’d sheepishly raise my hand. That’s right, I’ll admit it. I have quite a few. My work alone (a computer teacher for Oregon Virtual Academy – ORVA) uses about 15 passwords. My Western Oregon Masters program thus far has about 10. Personally I have one for each of my house utilities (garbage, phone, electric, gas, auto-insurance), each of my e-mail accounts, each bank account, etc. You can see how, at least with me, it’s really easy to get 40+ passwords. To have them all in 1 single group would be difficult to run through. Sure they’re all alphabetized, but did I call the description for my phone password Verizon or Phone… Really, why search through 40 passwords when I can more easily search through 10 separate passwords for the 1 I’m looking for?
To create a group, click on the 1st folder icon: . There are at least 2 other ways to create a new folder, but that’s the fastest.
I haven’t played with the “Create as a child…” option, though I’d assume it would create the new group as a sub-group of the group you’re currently in. You can play with it if you want, but for this walkthrough all you need to do is make sure the “Create as a top level group” button is selected and give your new folder a name. Make it make sense. If it’s for work, call it work. If you have multiple jobs, distinguish between the 2 work folders.
Once you’ve added a group or 2 you can simply drag the password you want to move to the group folder you want it to go to.
This is how mine looks after creating a couple groups and moving my passwords around:
You’ll notice I change the name of the “My Passwords” folder (right click –>edit group) to “Personal” and moved a few of the passwords to other folders. Again, this feature is much more useful when you have a lot of passwords.
One Final Password Corral Note:
One final thing that I should probably mention about Password Corral: This program may seem sketchy at first. You’re putting all your passwords in one place… You’re carrying it around on a USB device… What’s to prevent someone from getting a hold of all of your passwords and royally screwing you over? And what do you do if all of your passwords are gone?
This is a big issue with most people who don’t want to rely on all of their passwords being stolen. One nice thing is that every time you open the program you must enter the username and password to gain access. Now the username is easy to figure out, which is kinda sad. A file is created with the name of your username on it (in this case there’s a file called “Dummy.pc”). But the password, on the other hand, they’d have to know to gain access. This is why it’s so crucial that this password is one you know and no one else does. No one should be able to guess it either. The file with your username on it can easily be opened and people can look through it, but all the important information is encoded so that no one can look at the file and figure out what your information contains. So as you can see there are a lot of back-up safety features protecting you at every turn.
It’s important to keep a backup of your passwords. You can easily create backup files of your password lists (file–>export passwords) which I highly encourage. As with all of the files created, these are encrypted and useless unless put back into a password corral program, which requires your username and password.
Most importantly, if you lose your flash drive with all your passwords on it, it’s incredibly important that as soon as possible you get your backup up and running and change all of your passwords. If someone was able to find some way to crack your primary password you want to make sure all of the information they have is useless, and the only way to do that is to change all of your passwords. Sounds like a terrible job, but that’s the best way to keep all of your information safe. Whether you have a password management program or not, it’s a good rule to follow that if you get hacked in any way (I would consider losing your password list a part of getting hacked) you change your passwords ASAP. Don’t pull a Neville Longbottom (please tell me someone gets the reference).
I know I didn’t say anything about Google Reader in this post. I never added the username and password for a google reader account. But that’s OK because next time we will actually be creating a Google Account (and once you do that you now have access to gmail, Google Reader, Blogger, and so many other great Google Features). Join me next time!
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