We’ve all seen and heard recommendations for password security.
“Use numbers and letters.”
“Make sure it has both upper case and lower case letters.”
“Add in symbols to make it more secure.”
“Minimum of 8 characters.”
“Don’t use the same password on more than one site.”
“When you change your password, make it completely unique and different from the last one.”
Some websites and other accounts will force these rules on you. In general, I agree with these recommendations. They certainly make it harder for someone trying to guess or brute-force attack your password. But I’ve found that many of my clients (and even myself at times) find them hard to adhere to. I mean, coming up with and remembering a different password for each online account you have? I’ve read that the average computer user now has 130 separate logins. Most of my clients end up with a notepad next to their computers with all their passwords written down in it. Or worse, a file on their desktop labelled ‘Passwords’ just ripe for the taking if anyone malicious were to gain access to their PC.
This is where LastPass comes in. LastPass is a service that allows you to create a secure vault with passwords for all of your accounts. Then you only need to remember one password (and make it good) for logging into LastPass and it handles the rest. One feature I really like is its ability to make a strong, secure, random password. One I’d never remember, but I don’t need to because LastPass remembers it for me and I only need to remember my master LastPass Password.
How to Use LastPass?
It’s easiest to start in your browser. Head to this page and choose the extension for your browser of choice. Once your extension is installed you will see a new button in your browser’s toolbar.
Click the new button and select ‘Create a New Account’ You’ll be prompted to enter your Email Address and a Master Password. Like I mentioned earlier, make this password good. You want it to be both Strong and one you will remember since it will allow access to all of the accounts you set up on it.
Once you’re setup you will be prompted to allow LastPass to remember your password each time you sign in to a new account. It’s really that simple.
Additionally, when you are creating an account or changing an account’s password you will see the LastPass symbol in the text field. Clicking on it will give you the option to allow LastPass to randomly create a strong password for you to use. And you don’t even need to remember it because LastPass will remember it for you!
What About My Cell Phone, Tablet, or iPad?
LastPass has you covered here as well. The mobile apps for LastPass allow you log into all the accounts you have set up with LastPass with just your Master Password. What’s really cool, is if you have a Finger Print scanner, you will be able to log in with just your fingerprint (confirmed on Android, I haven’t tested iOS yet). Overall, this works really well and I’ve been happy since I started using it.
How Secure is LastPass?
“But Tony, I shouldn’t be giving out the password for all my accounts! That goes against common sense for security.” This is true, but with the encryption, LastPass uses they don’t ever actually know your password. They use a HASH that is sent to their server, not your actual Master Password. They also encrypt all data using 256-bit AES Encryption. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what that means, only that it’s a secure way of making sure that even if LastPass’s servers get compromised, your data shouldn’t be in a readable format that anyone can read. You can read more about LastPass security here.
Yes, there are some security risks with a service like LastPass. However, in my opinion, there are greater risks in using a similar or weak password on all of your accounts. With the encryption, LastPass uses I’m more worried about the service shutting down than them getting hacked and leaking my passwords. If they shut down it would be an inconvenience to need to reset all my passwords but it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world.
If you have trouble remembering all of your passwords or find yourself using the same one again and again so that you can remember, I encourage you to consider using LastPass.
If you would like help setting it up and getting all of your accounts added to it, you can Contact Y-Not Tech Services. I’d be happy to assist.