GNU Keyring for the Palm Pilot
Keep Your Passwords Safe in Your Pocket
by Rollin White
At the January SCOUG meeting several of us were discussing passwords
and security. The conversation turned to programs like Keyring/2
demonstrated last February. For those that missed it, this handy
program keeps track of the plethora of passwords required to exist on
the Internet. Keyring/2 uses robust encryption techniques so that your
password list (or account numbers, PINs, etc.) are always safe. I
complained that I needed such a program but spent too much time away
from my computer to make it practical.
The answer is GNU Keyring for the Palm Pilot. This handy application
is similar in concept to Keyring/2 with the added advantage of
portability of the Palm Pilot. In addition, Keyring uses the GNU Public
License and is an Open Source effort.
Like most Palm Pilot applications, the installation is straight
forward. I installed it under OS/2 using the Pilot Link Utilities. After extracting
the .PRC file from the .ZIP file, I used the following command:
pilot-xfer -i keyring-1.0-en.prc
That's all there is to it! If you're using the Windows tools or
other synchronization manager, it should be straight forward to install.
Keyring is protected by a master password which you choose when you
first install it. This master password is critical - it should be easy
for you to remember but not easy for someone else to guess. Remember,
with the master password someone else would have access to all of your
passwords and account information! One added issue with a pilot based
application is how easy it is to write in the graffiti area. Normally
longer passwords are preferred, but I chose a relatively short password
(five characters) to make it quick and easy to get into the Keyring
To create a new record just click on the New button. You will be
prompted for three pieces of information. The Name of the record is
what will be displayed in the Keyring list. The account might also be
called user name and is optional. The remainder of the screen is for
the password and any notes that may be useful
Creating new records is a snap. Once you have entered several
records and are interested in retrieving a password just click on the
|If you need a keyring application, you probably have a fair number of
passwords to manage. An additional tool Keyring provides is the ability
to categorize your Keyring records (much like the date book application
in the Pilot). Just use the category drop-down in the upper right
corner like the other Pilot applications. The good news is that this
category list is exclusive to Keyring so you can tailor it to your
Selecting a new password is always a hassle. Most of us are not very
creative when it comes to creating passwords. The result is our
passwords may be too easy to guess. Keyring includes an option to let
it create a random password for you. You select how long to make the
password and there are options for alpha, alphanumeric, mixed case and
special characters. Using this feature and the Keyring list, there's no
reason to use an easy-to-guess password.
GNU Keyring is the right tool for the job. It's simple,
straightforward, secure, and portable. Best of all it's free! You can
download it from http://gnukeyring.sourceforge.net/. While you're at
it, check out the rest of the sourceforge.net site - you'll find some
interesting Open Source projects underway.
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