Note: This is issue number 1 of our newsletter (Jan 26th 2021) sent out to our subscribers by mail every now and then. Interested to hear news and updates about Strongbox, KeePass, Password Management and the wider InfoSec world.
Welcome to the first ever Strongbox newsletter! This is something we’ve been thinking about doing for quite a while, but we have just never got around to it. One of the main reasons for having a newsletter is just to highlight new features or aspects of Strongbox that people miss.
We often get emails from people asking if we could this or that feature, and they are shocked to discover that the feature already exists! It’s just been tucked away in a neat little area.
We haven’t done a great job at showing off all the features and so we’re going to try to use this newsletter, among other things to highlight new features that may be useful for you. We hope you’ll find it interesting and useful. So, on with the show…
Compare & Merge on iOS
Compare & Merge is quite a big feature. This lets you view the differences or changes between two different databases (often two versions of the same database). You can see added items, moved items, deleted items and edits. This is very handy if you’re wondering what on earth has changed, previously a difficult task.
If you like, you can then choose to merge one database into another. This is done in as smart a way as possible, choosing the latest entries from each database, archiving older versions of items and generally just doing the right thing, not creating duplicates. It’s a complex algorithm and it’s why it took a long time to develop. You can read more here:
Pull Down to Refresh
A simple but very useful feature is the new “Pull Down to Refresh” feature. When you’ve already opened your database and are browsing around, perhaps you’ve made a change on your Mac or PC and you want to refresh the database on your iPhone. Previously you would have had to close your database, now you can just: “Pull down to Refresh”! Strongbox will go out and try to get the latest copy from your remote storage, then update the database directly for you. No need to close & unlock again.
This was a big one for our Mac aficionados. Apple released Big Sur in late 2020 and with it, they released their Password AutoFill system for MacOS. This works really well on iOS and Strongbox has long supported it there. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a counterpart on the Mac until now. Strongbox now supports Password AutoFill there and when it works it works really well. Unfortunately, third party apps and browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome haven’t yet integrated on their side so we’re waiting for that. More:
Advanced Sync is one of our most requested features for a long time. This uses the Advanced KeePass algorithm (the same one as in the Merge feature mentioned above) to select the latest changes and archive historical ones if it detects a conflict between a local and remote version of your database. You can read more here:
New Key File Format V2
Dominik Reichl, the lead KeePass developer is, as always, hard at work on the Windows KeePass client, setting the standard for that database format. With the release of KeePass 2.47, there comes a new updated version of the Key File format. There are 2 main improvements here:
• Readability & Printability
• Corruption Detection
The new Key File format contains a hash element to verify that the key is as it should be. The key is also nicely separated into easy to read and type hex groups. Strongbox now supports this new format.
Argon2id Key Derivation Function
Another change that came along with KeePass 2.47 was the addition of the Argon2id Key Derivation Function (KDF). This is a variant of the already popular Argon2d KDF, offering some slightly different performance characteristics that some would argue improve the security profile of your database. The truth is we believe both algorithms are still excellent and would find it difficult to recommend one over the other. Good arguments can be found on both sides of the divide here. The choice is yours to make, Strongbox now supports the Argon2id KDF.
January Sale – 20% Off
Coming up this weekend (January 29th-31st) there will be a 20% off sale on all Strongbox licenses. This includes iOS and Mac, lifetime and subscriptions (though reduced subscriptions are only for new subscribers and only for the first year). If you know someone who likes Strongbox and is considering a purchase, then perhaps you can do them a favour! If you’re on the fence yourself, then maybe this will help. As a small indie start-up, we appreciate your support!
So, thanks for reading! This turned out longer than we had planned, and we hope it hasn’t been too much! It’s been a very busy few months of development! We’ll try to keep the next one shorter. Please let us know what you think about these new features or any other feedback you might have!