Let’s face it: keeping track of an ever-growing list of website logins is becoming damn near impossible. Everyone knows that you should make a different password for each site, and that it should be a pile of gibberish. However, with most websites we use nowadays requiring logins, there is just no way to keep track of them all unless you’re blessed with supernatural photographic memory. Keeping your passwords in a list or in a document is asking for trouble – if that notebook or document gets compromised, then what?
Enter LastPass, a software program designed to act as a vault for ALL of your passwords. The program will remember and autofill all your passwords for all of your favorite sites, and you’ll only need to remember one single master password in order to access them all.
I didn’t jump on this software right away – I had heard about it through the grapevine and thought it might be cool to try. But since my browser will store my passwords I never needed to bother. However, with the ever increasing rate of data compromises on the internet these days I decided it was time to up my password game and ensure that I was being as secure as possible.
LastPass In Action
Installing and running LastPass for the first time is a relative breeze. Just download the file and install the .exe. Create an account and a master password. (Don’t lose this password!) Then when LastPass prompts you, you can import all the passwords that you have already stored in your browser. I was a bit hesitant to do this at first as I have a LOT of passwords stored (probably a precarious situation anyway) and I was worried about how this was going to work. However, I went for it and had LastPass import all my passwords into their program and then delete them from FireFox.
Everything went quite smoothly. I then went around and started logging into my favorite websites.
It took a second to get used to how LastPass integrates itself into the browser. Basically the software will log you in once with your master password, and then from there you can access all of your saved login information. The best part is that you can access all of your saved passwords on other computers (and even your smartphone) using this one login.
I was a bit confused how it was working, but basically LastPass will make small * symbols appear in the login fields. If you click on that you can choose the profile with which to login. Usually you’ll just have one choice, but if you have more than one login for a particular site it will allow you to choose which login you want to use.
When you sign up for a new site you can choose to save the password in LastPass and you also have the option to organize your websites into particular folders or categories.
LastPass has quite an array of options to keep the advanced users happy. You can sort your passwords and websites into categories and folders. You can choose to have LastPass automatically fill out your password, log you in, or do nothing at all.
Multifactor authentication is another great feature for LastPass which can increase your security for things like banking sites and other highly sensitive logins.
You can install LastPass on multiple computers and your password information will flow seamlessly between the two. When using browser toolbars your passwords from one computer can easily be accessed from another computer (provided that LastPass is also installed on that PC and you log in).
This has been an absolute Godsend for myself – I manage multiple websites and have a plethora of accounts, and I found I wasn’t using my desktop computer as much because my passwords weren’t stored on it. With LastPass I can now easily access all my sites with no problem. The more I use LastPass and get used to it, the more I like it.
An obvious question many people will have is how secure LastPass actually is; if it’s storing all of your passwords, it better be safe!
Fortunately, LastPass uses government level localized encryption — AES 256-bit encryption with routinely-increased PBKDF2 iterations– to store your passwords. Also, the passwords are encrypted and decrypted on your device so it’s not accessible in a cloud or by the LastPass company.
If that’s not enough, you can use Multifactor Authentication for some passwords or all, increasing your security.
I’m happy to say that I’m quite pleased with LastPass. I have been guilty of using similar passwords for websites, and now I will begin to diversify them thanks to help from LastPass.
The best part is that LastPass is absolutely FREE. They do have a Premium option for a small fee, and the mobile apps require a small yearly fee. However most people will get great mileage out of the free version.
Check out LastPass today and simplify your browsing life.