Install and configure QtPass and PassFF password managers.
This guide supports Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Arch Linux.
A working install of one of the supported distributions with root permissions.
- # – requires given linux command to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
- $ – given linux command to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
Remembering Passwords is awful. It’s not something anyone likes, and with people needing more online accounts than ever, it’s becoming entirely unmanageable. Remember, using the same password twice is a BAD IDEA.
Pass is an old school command line tool that’s known for top-notch password management. You can always still use that, but QtPass gives you a more convenient GUI on top of Pass, and PassFF lets you use the password database you create directly with Firefox. Installing these tools on just about any distribution is very simple, and the end result will make your online life a lot easier.
The first thing that you’re going to need is QtPass. It’s open source and available in almost every distribution repository. Install it for yours.
$ sudo apt install qtpass
# dnf install qtpass
# zypper in qtpass
# pacman -S qtpas
Set Up QtPass
QtPass is obviously a graphical application, so launch it however you’re most comfortable. When you first launch it, QtPass will do one of two things. If you already have some GPG keys on your system, it will ask you which one you want to use. If you don’t have any keys, QtPass can help you set it up. It’ll open up a menu screen that you can use to set the specifics for your new key. Always remember that there is no way to recover GPG passwords. Set something that’s both secure and memorable. If you lose this password, you lose all your passwords.
Once you have a key, QtPass will let you set up your initial configuration. You can do what suits you best, but it’s a good idea to increase the number of characters to at least 15 and enable all characters.
The main screen is fairly easy to navigate. The main area of the screen lists out your passwords. To the right of that is the area where QtPass will display your passwords and the associated information when you unlock them.
The icon menu lets you create, delete, and modify your password entries. The icons differ with your desktop environment, but they should usually be self-explanatory.
Create a new password entry to try it out.
A smaller window will open up to let you set up your password. Give the entry a name. Depending on your version and distro, the name might need to be the URL or there could be a URL field. It’s usually best to just treat the name as the URL anyway. It doesn’t need to be the full thing, just the domain name and extension.
Generate your password next. If your window has URL and username fields, fill those in. Your login email qualifies as a username. In case you don’t have those fields, name your entries after the web address, and include your username/email as the first line in the notes section towards the bottom. When you have everything in place, save the entry.
Double click on the entry to open it back up and view your password. You’ll be prompted to enter the password for your key. You should see the new info for your entry displayed to the right of the QtPass window.
You can go ahead, and copy and paste your passwords every time you need them, but that’s kind of annoying, and it isn’t super secure to keep them in your clipboard. Instead, you can use PassFF, which directly accesses your password database and automatically populates the fields in web forms.
PassFF is a Firefox plugin that works with a Python script to use your password database. It’s super easy to use, and setting it up isn’t too bad either.
Open up Firefox’s plugins page, and search for PassFF. It’ll be your first result. Click on it, and install it.
Install PassFF Host
In order for PassFF to work, you need to get the companion script. Go the the project’s releases page, and grab the latest release. Then, make it executable, and pass it “firefox” when you run it.
$ chmod +x install-script.sh $ ./install-script.sh firefox
Restart Firefox, and you’ll be able to start using PassFF.
Open a web page that corresponds to one of your entries. You should notice the PassFF icon in the username and password fields. Click on the icon. You’ll see all matching entries. If you don’t, click on the PassFF plugin icon in the Firefox menu bar. Click the refresh icon in the resulting drop-down. That will update PassFF from your database.
There are two icons that appear when you click the icon. The pencil icon just fills the fields, and the paper plane fills them and submits the form. Some sites, like Facebook, don’t work well with the automatic submission,so keep an eye out for that.
Once you select one, you’ll be prompted to enter your key’s password. The fields will fill up, and you can sign in as usual.
Now, you have a system to generate, store, and automatically use passwords in a secure manner. You won’t need to remember any more passwords, save the one for your key, and you can use the extremely secure auto-generated ones that no one is going to guess. As you get accustomed to this method, you’ll see that it’s actually very convenient and quick to use.