Last week I wrote about using the same password in lots of places, and why it’s a bad (and potentially very costly) practice. That blog post was about the problem. This week I’m going to show you the solution.
The solution is a service called LastPass (www.LastPass.com). The name is based on the fact that it’s the last password you will ever need to remember.
I love LastPass!
(As an aside, I wanted to mention something. One of the most popular services for password storage and retrieval is Roboform. A lot of people use it. For me, I never found it intuitive or easy to use at all. I actually made a concerted effort on at least two different occasions to use Roboform, and failed both times. With LastPass, however, I found it to be super easy and sailed right through the setup process.)
What does LastPass do? To put it simply, it will create and remember your passwords so you don’t have to. Here are some features:
- It works on any computer. So it doesn’t matter if you use Windows, Mac, or even Linux – it will work.
- It’s free. Yes, actually free. And you can use it on all of your computers. There is a paid version, but that just means you won’t see any ads. If you know me, you know that I despise ads. But I don’t find these ads to be intrusive or distracting at all. And if you do want to be ad-free, the paid version is only $12 per year anyway.
- It’s secure. The first concern I had with this is, “All my passwords in one place? That doesn’t seem safe.” But it is safe. More on that in a minute.
- You can access it from anywhere. That means you can be traveling, and if you want to get access to a site that you don’t remember the password for, you can still access it through your LastPass account quickly and safely.
- It’s easy. This is probably the best part! No more getting to a site you haven’t visited in months, and trying to remember the good, non-guessable password you created. One click and you are logged in!
So here’s what you do…
Go to www.LastPass.com and create an account. Part of that process is creating a Master Password, and this is important: make this a good quality password. That means:
- 12 characters
- unpronounceable (not a dictionary word or proper name)
- combination of letters and numbers
- combination of upper and lower case
- include a special character or two, such as $ or &
This password you will want to write down carefully, and store it carefully where it won’t be found. This is the one password you will need in order to get into your LastPass account.
Once your account is created, you will be asked if you want to bring in all of your “unsecured” passwords. This means all of the passwords that are already stored for you in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. You want to do this! Let LastPass store them for you securely instead of having the browser store them where anyone can get to them. After that information is brought in, you can have LastPass delete them from your browser because you don’t need them there any more.
To get a better understanding of how LastPass works, check out these videos:
Why use LastPass?
Use LastPass to generate secure passwords:
Another quick tutorial:
The big question – is it safe? Yes, it is. All of your data is encrypted locally on your computer. To accesss it, you need your Master Password – and only you have that. The people at LastPass don’t even have access to that. So you definitely need to remember it!
So there you have it – the solution to your password problem. I’m using it every day, and I recommend you do as well.