Keeping Secrets with Emacs and GPG

We all know we should use a unique password for each website or application we use, but most of us don't because it is much easier to use the same password everywhere. Using easy-pg and outline-mode you can let emacs take care of managing your passwords and keeping them encrypted, only one master passphrase is needed to unlock your passwords.

This being a post about emacs, I'm not going to delve in to specifics about using GPG. But if you don't already have private key use,

gpg --gen-key

to create one. Pick a long, not easily guessable passphrase, but remember, if you forget your passphrase there is no way to get your passwords back.

easy-pg is included with the latest distribution of Emacs, the only configuration that is needed, is to set the path to the gpg executable,

(setq epg-gpg-program "/opt/local/bin/gpg")

Now anytime you open a file ending with the extension .gpg Emacs will take care of encrypting and decrypting it for you, you will be asked for your passphrase.

Now create a file to store your passwords, make the following,

-*- mode: org -*- -*- epa-file-encrypt-to: ("[email protected]") -*-

the first line in the file. Now every time the file is opened it will be opened using org-mode.

A nice feature of org-mode is you can group stuff, make tables that can grow, shrink as needed automatically,

|Header1 |Header2 |Header3|

as soon as you hit TAB, org-mode will build the table for you.

| App  | Login     | Pass      |
| app1 | username1 | username2 |
|      |           |           |

You can use headings to organize passwords in to different categories.

* Bank

* Web

* Application

Categories can be hidden or shown using the TAB key.