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Release: Groups + Bulk Password Sharing = WOOHOOO!

We’ve got a great roll-out for you: Passpack 7.4. Create groups of shared users, and share one (or batches!) of passwords with those groups. Combine that with fully integrated transfer of ownership, and password management starts looking sexy.

Combining Bulk Sharing and Groups you can get your entire company happily on the password management bandwagon.

Shared User Groups

You can add and manage your groups under your People tab (there’s a link right under the tab itself). Check the Help Center for some how-tos, but here’s the gist:

  • You create a group and add some users to it.
  • You share a password with the group – and all group members automatically have access to it.
  • You modify, delete or unshare a password entry with the group – and all changes are automatically propagated to all members.
  • You remove someone from the group – and all group-shared passwords disappear from their account without affecting the others.

How many groups can you have? Free accounts don’t need them since you only have 1 shared user to begin with*. For all premium accounts, check this grid.

Bulk Password Sharing

Shortly after adding bulk deleting, encrypted password emails and other options, we quietly rolled out bulk sharing… so it’s certainly worth mentioning now. What’s bulk sharing good for? If you have 20 passwords you’d like to share with someone, with bulk editing you can share all 20 at once for a huge time savings.

Transfer Password Ownership

This is a really popular request. Let’s say you’ve purchased a Group account which you use as a central password repository. Your all set up, with your 10 employees each with their own Free account, each receiving their passwords in sharing from your central repository. Fabulous!

But what happens when one of your employees has to create a password entry on your company’s behalf? Simple, you let them create the password, then transfer the ownership over to you.

We experimented a little bit with this feature, rolling it out silently… tucked away in the bulk editing actions menu. With Passpack 7.4 the Transfer Ownership feature has been promoted to “official”. Your shared users can not only transfer one (or batches) of passwords to your central repository – but they can do it at the time of creation, or anytime thereafter.

(Do I hear a few people in the back calling for some automation here? I do? Huh, funny I was thinking the same thing myself [wink])

More

We also tooled with some things here and there that need fixing. Here’s a quick list of some of the minor changes as well:

Basic authentication support.

Password and People tabs remember the last state when switching back and forth.

• Better notifications in Home.

• Mild tweaks to the entry window.

• Your red save all button has a new home (top right of screen).

• Various minor bug fixes including some oddball visual cues.

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Go forth, build groups and be merry! Let us know if you run into any hiccups.

* Actually, you can only initiate one shared user, but you have an unlimited number of people that can initiate sharing with you. More on that here.

Coming Up Next at Passpack: Groups

I’ve been stingy with the blog posts as of late, so I wanted to drop in with some news on what we’ve been up to, and what’s coming up next – Groups & Localization!

For the past 5 months or so I’ve been traveling, while Francesco has been preparing some important Passpack changes. Let’s ignore the traveling since you can read all about that on my personal blog, and jump right into the exciting new stuff.

“Groups”

Just one small word, but chock full of Passpack power. The next update you’ll see to your account is the ability to share not just with single people, but with entire groups. This is incredibly useful for provisioning passwords, for example, to an entire department.

Right before the official release, we’ll stock up the Help Center with how-to articles for you. But here’s the gist:

  • Add a shared user to a group and their account gets populated with all the password entries that have been previously shared with that group.
  • All changes are automatically propagated across the group.
  • Remove someone from a group and all group-shared password entries will disappear from his/her account.

Localization Tool

For those of you wishing you had Passpack in your own language – your moment is coming.

Following the Groups release, we’ll be finishing off a few smaller features to round out the both the free and business packages. The next big thing you can expect though will be a localization tool. We build the tool, and you (the community) can translate until your hearts delight.

Until then, welcome me back, and get ready for 2-3 months of intensive development.

Gmail for Passpack is Fully Active Again

Some months ago we stopped the full support of Gmail authentication to Passpack. Yesterday I was reading the post announcing it, and I had an idea.

Google requires you to configure your account in order to allow the access to the mailbox from external tools. However, yesterday I decided to try and simply authenticate via IMAP on a brand new Gmail account.

Surprisingly… it worked because recently Google changes the default settings. In ten minutes I reversed the code substituting the old library with just two lines.

So the good news is “we fixed it”. The Gmail third party authentication will not be discontinued.

Obviously… your GMail account must have the IMAP Access enabled.

New Passpack Desktop Release

Thanks to our faithful beta testers*, the new release of Passpack Desktop is ready for you to download and install.

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(instructions & FAQ here if you need them)

What’s New?

  • Many of your favorite features from Passpack.com:
    • bulk entry management
    • see your people tab (read only)
    • click icons to copy content from your list
    • updated entry window
  • Offline only entries clearly marked with “local” tag.
  • Sync and view shared passwords [hooray!]
  • Sync tags and favorites settings from online (optional)
  • And the ever-important: shiny black chrome

Passpack Desktop is Your Best Backup

Should you ever get stuck without an internet connection – you’ll be really happy you have a copy of all your important passwords in your Passpack Desktop.

So install it now.

If you have never installed Passpack Desktop before, or do not know how to synchronize it, it’s pretty easy. Just read the instructions here.

* Two notes for beta testers: (1) Just go to Tools > Downgrade to stable version and your Beta version will be upgraded to the latest stable release. (2) Thank you!!!

New Passpack Desktop: Want to Beta Test?

Happy 2010! We almost missed the new year since we’ve been toiling away on the internal alpha testing of the new Passpack Desktop release. Before a formal release, we’d love your help beta testing it – interested?

Here’s what’s new:

  • Many of your favorite features from Passpack.com
    • bulk entry management
    • see your people tab (read only)
    • click icons to copy content from your list
    • updated entry window
  • Offline only entries clearly marked with “local” tag.
  • Improved online sync, including shared passwords [hooray!]

Want To Test It Right Now?

You can. No need to sign up for a beta program, simply download a copy of the beta at the link below and get cooking. We’re announcing this on the blog first so you guys can get the first crack at it.

Download
Testing is over – thank you! You may download the latest release here.

Instructions
Testing is mostly needed on the update and sync process, so you must, must, must backup your previous Desktop data before testing! Then install the beta. To align your data with your online account, go to Tools > Sync with Passpack.com.

Should anything go wrong, let us know what happened. If you need to recover your data, use the command Tools > Downgrade to stable version.

Feedback
Please use the comments below to let us know what’s working, and what’s not. That’s it, enjoy. I’m looking forward to your feedback.

Update 12/4

Before installing the beta 2, please launch beta 1 and click the “BETA: restore old 1.0.5 pack backup and restart.” link (if you don’t have that link, it’s ok, it means you don’t need it). Then you can close it and install beta 2.

Changes made:

  • Fixed the blank password field
  • Fixed the password history
  • Minor tweaks

Thanks, keep letting us know what you find.

Quick Fix

Just fixed a bug, the People and Messages tabs were freezing. Should work OK now. Thanks to users for the heads up!

Yubikey:Two Factor or Third Party?

There are a lot of USB drives aimed at improving login security. The Yubikey is my favorite. It is compact and smart, and now you can use it to sign in Passpack.

Tara met Stina Ehrensvärd, CEO & Founder of Yubico, during Red Herring’s ETRE 2008, in Stockolm. In that occasion, Stina gave a Yubikey to Tara. I pondered it for a while, and now we have finally decided to do an integration. Actually… two.

You can use the Yubikey either as a Two Factor Authentication between your Passpack Password and Packing Key… or you can use it to replace the Passpack Password and skip straight to the Packing Key.

The Yubikey in action

Option 1: Yubikey as a Third Party Login

As usual, if you want to associate the Yubikey login to you account, go to Account > Associate Another Login and start the process (how to).

thirds

If you are not already a Passpack user, you can create an account directly using one of the supported Third Party Logins, now including Yubikey. Of course, I strongly suggest to have a standard Passpack account as well for back up. In fact, in the case that it is not possible to access your Third Party service  for any reason (did you loose your Yubikey?), will then be able to access your account via the standard sign in process. Alternatively, you could associate al least two Third Party Logins.

Option 2: Yubikey as Two Factor Authentication

This is for people who want to further secure their access to Passpack.
To configure your account to use Yubikey, simply go to Settings > Two Factor Autentication. You will see the following screen.

twochoice

Choose the second option and press Continue. Passpack will then ask you to press your Yubikey and … you’re done.

Please note: Some Internet Cafès or public computers may not allow you use a USB drive for fear of keyloggers. In these cases, you will not be able to access your Passpack account from those computers.

Double Thanks, with Two Factor Authentication

While Americans were feasting on turkey and stuffing yesterday*, Francesco was back in Italy putting the final touches on the next release: Two Factor Authentication.

This is a first roll-out using a  one time code which will be sent to you via email during sign in to your Passpack account. You can choose the email you’d like to receive the code at, and whether or not you’d like it to be required all the time, or (my favorite) only when your Welcome Message is inactive.

This feature is completely optional. To set up a second factor of authentication, choose Two Factor Authentication from your Settings menu.

Two Step Login AND Two Factor Authentication

Passpack uses a two-step login. First step, the user has to be recognized – with User ID and Password or via a 3rd Party (Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), second step is our famous Packing Key.

Most of you know that your Packing Key is known only to you and decrypts your data directly in the browser. But what some of you may not realize is that we also use it as an additional authentication step. This is because your data will only be released by the server to your browser if a hash of your Packing Key matches the one stored.

This approach is clearly safer than any other two-step approach. So, we have always been reluctant to add a “traditional” second factor of authentication. However, since there are a few users that periodically ask us for it, we decided to introduce some form of Two Factor Authentication.

We started with a simple one: a One Time Password (OTP) via email.

How to Set Up Two Factor Authentication

Go to the Settings tab and launch the command Two Factor Authentication. Passpack verifies the configuration and lists the available factors. Continue and, in the next screen, choose the email address where the OTP will sent. Also, you can choose to activate the second factor only when your Welcome Message doesn’t appear – for example, when you aren’t connected with your own PC.

In the next step Passpack will send you a test OTP to verify that you can receive it without issues (ex. excessive waiting time, anti-spam filters, etc.). Simply check your mailbox, copy the OTP from the message and paste it in the field to complete the process.

Please be aware that if you set this up, you must have access to your mailbox before logging into Passpack (don’t create a catch 22 folks!).

* Sorry, just HAD to get a reference to the turkey in here somehow [wink]