Updated February 15, 2018
Switching from old-fashioned password memorization to using a password management tool like LastPass will make your life easier and your accounts much more secure.
The best password is one you can’t remember.
I’m sure you have dozens, if not hundreds, of websites and they all need complex, ideally unique passwords.
Unless you’re superhuman, you’re making sacrifices with either the complexity of your passwords or reusing the same ones over and over.
As hackers employ more advanced tactics to get into your accounts, this is simply asking for trouble. Not only can a hack be frustrating/devastating for you, it can affect others. For example, you’ve all received emails from a friend’s hacked email account encouraging you to click a link or wire money.
Don’t be a liability to yourself and others—get a password manager like LastPass so you can start using secure, unique passwords for all of your important accounts.
Let LastPass do the heavy lifting
LastPass is an excellent tool for securely managing all your passwords. The free version probably will do everything you need it to do, and the premium version is only $24 a year.
Once you add the Chrome Extension, it detects whenever you enter a username/password combination and lets you save it to your vault. Then anytime you go to a login page, LastPass auto-fills your saved password.
Because you never have to type your passwords again, you can use complex passwords that are virtually impossible to hack. You can have LastPass generate these passwords for you if you prefer.
Instead of needing to remember hundreds of passwords, you just need one good password to log in to LastPass, which gives you access to your entire vault. (Don’t skimp on this one.)
Is it secure?
Without going into the technical details, yes, it is very secure. Your passwords are encrypted, so LastPass (the company) can’t even see the passwords you store there. If they ever got hacked, the encrypted version of your passwords on their server would be useless.
So as long as you use a complex password for LastPass, it’s a very secure option.
Add trusted users who can access your account if something happens to you.
People increasingly rely on their online accounts, rather than paper documentation, to keep track of their important financial information. If anything happens to you, though, your loved ones will have a tough time tracking down where you have accounts and how to access them.
My wife and I share a LastPass account, which makes it super easy to access all of the accounts we use.
But what if you don’t want your spouse/friend/relative to access your passwords unless there was an emergency? LastPass has a feature that allows you to add trusted users as an emergency backup to your account. These users can request access to your account, which will send you a notification. If you don’t reject that request in a set period of time (24 hours, a week, etc.), then they are given access to the account.
Share account access without sharing passwords
Another great feature of LastPass is that you can let other users use one of your passwords without being able to see/edit it.
For example, an organization might need employees to have access to a few accounts. The LastPass extension on their browsers can autofill the password for this account, but they will never actually see the password. When that employee leaves the organization, you can then revoke access to that login.
How to Get Started on LastPass
To get started using LastPass:
- Go to their website to download the browser extension. You can also get the mobile app for any device.
- Create your account. Make sure to use a strong password! (8-12 characters long, with a combination of upper-case, lower-case, numbers and symbols). Write this down in a secure place if you don’t trust yourself to remember it.
- Start saving passwords. Anytime you enter a password that isn’t already in the vault, a toolbar will show up, giving you the option to save the password for future use.
- Use the password generation tool for sites that are the most important to keep safe, such as your email, bank accounts, etc. Simple passwords are OK for sites that don’t have sensitive information—such as a forum.
- Whenever you get to a login page that is stored in LastPass, the LastPass extension will fill in your username and password. If you have multiple accounts on one site, you can choose which one to log in with.
- Let your mind relax, knowing that you only need to remember ONE password, and the rest will take care of itself!
Let this be the year you get secure and stop getting locked out of your accounts. Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions about getting started on LastPass.