In search of a portable password store

by Volker Weber

I need something that most likely quite a few people might need: a portable password store. I know there are brazillions of those tools out there. But they only work on selected platforms. And they are also not implemented as open source.

I think the requirements are very simple: One file to store the information, a frontend that lets you enter freeform notes and browse existing ones. The individual notes don't need any structure. Just a name that appears in the list and a text field for the payload. The backend of the application should encrypt and decrypt the store with user supplied password.

The most important feature however is that the data has to be portable. I want to see this data on a PC, on a Mac, any Palm device, Series 60 Smartphone, as well as on the Series 80 communicators and UIQ devices. For now I can live with sending the file around via Bluetooth. However, it would be interesting to design a replication mechanism between different devices.

The first implementation of an application like this could be done in Java, which would make it work on most mobile devices. If the data store is well defined one could then add more clients for Windows, Mac, Linux etc.

Has anybody started work on something like this?


The best one I found until now is KeePass ( It´s open source but only available for Windows and PocketPC. But it has some really nice features like Auto Type for automatic logins.

Karsten Fusenig, 2005-11-02

Well, it may not fulfill your requirements as it runs on neither platform you mentioned... I use a nice note-book for that kind of stuff. Black leather, thick paper. Notes are 'encrypted' using my own secret alphabet - and of curse my poor handwriting ;) So no chance for others to grasp what all these funny letters are about. Except NSA, but what the heck.

Sascha Carlin, 2005-11-02

Good find, Karsten.

Sascha, that won't do for me. No backups.

Volker Weber, 2005-11-02

Thanks Volker,

I found it really usefull to play with the settings. There you can get a lot more of what you want.

Karsten Fusenig, 2005-11-02

I'm using KeePass now for a good week and I'm really satisfied. It's easy to install and to use. Not much to configure, but many possibilities for the data management.

Martin Hiegl, 2005-11-02

(I'm still having fun with the brazillions too)



Alex Hernandez, 2005-11-02

Have you taken a look at

Ole Saalmann, 2005-11-02

I have been working on something like this for the past month. It it loosely modeled on KeePass, but I got frustrated with the Windows on. I have written it in Java and tested it on WinXP/2K, Mac OSX and Linux... next stop is Palm (I have written it at 320x320 for this purpose specifically).

Once I feel it is ready for a general beta trial, I will post the link here.


Shamus Rask, 2005-11-02

Karsten & Martin, while Keepass is a good find, it is again something that was written only with Windows in mind.

Through one discussion I found another interesting program that started on the palm and where people start to add other implementations against the same keyring: GNUkeyring.

Volker Weber, 2005-11-02

Shamus, that is great news. Keep us posted.

You may also consider Symbian devices and I can test it on Series 60 (Nokia 66xx) and on Series 80 (Nokia 9xxx). They of course have different screen sizes.

Volker Weber, 2005-11-02

The Java port for Password Safe (originally created by Bruce Schneier) has recently been kicked off. Don't know if that fulfills your needs and what exactly it runs on.

Armin Grewe, 2005-11-02

A (free) tool is Passreminder, it claims to run on Windows / Linux and is made of / in Java. I don't know about its quality...

Another (funny) tool is PasswordMaker. "It is a small, lightweight, free, extension for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Flock, and Konfabulator". They also have an online version.

Frank Hamm, 2005-11-03

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