In this article, you’ll learn how to make your life a whole lot easier and more secure with an online password manager called LastPass.
Humans Are Predictable
You and I are predictable, let’s face it. We’ve used passwords that were short. We’ve also used that same password more than once because it was easy to remember. In fact, we’ve used that same password for years on many different services. It seemed like a good idea at the time because you’ll remember all your passwords, right? Check out this infographic (snippet below) on Entrepreneur.com to see get the picture.
Well, this is a problem because it makes us vulnerable to people that want to get into our online accounts. Think about all the services we use day-to-day that have moved into ‘the cloud’ (they don’t live on our computers but are services hosted on the web and we connect to them when we want to use them). All of our emails, banking, social media, Apple IDs, Paypal, business websites, domain registrars, etc. These are all software as services. People that want to get into our accounts without our permission (hackers), know that we do these things and they rely on our predictability. When they manage to crack your password, they have the keys to your life (if you’ve used that same password everywhere). This puts you and I at serious risk!
Three Easy Steps
The good news is that we can protect ourselves in three easy steps.
Step 1: Sign-Up
Sign up for an online password manager. I recommend LastPass (over at LastPass.com). It’s an online service where you create a master password then it stores all your encrypted passwords in a private account. Now, this is the time to create yourself a new password that is long, hard to guess and you will remember (experts like Bruce Schneier recommend turning a personal and memorable sentence into a password, for example: Ltime@go-inag~faaa! = Long time ago in a galaxy not far away at all.).
Step 2: Add
Start adding your passwords to LastPass using the Chrome Extension (other browser extensions listed on LastPass’s website). Just head around the internet and perform your regular browsing. As you log into sites, be sure to add them to your LastPass account. You’ll see a nice summary on your LastPass dashboard. See the LastPass guide here.
Step 3: Audit
Let LastPass audit your passwords! Now that LastPass knows your passwords, you can let it suggest where which ones should be strengthened and updated by taking their Security Challenge (the shield icon in their dashboard). Since LastPass is now in charge of remembering and helping you update your passwords, you don’t have to remember a 25 character string that it suggests ~ hooray!
A Few More Tips
The great news is that LastPass is free to use (amazing I know). However, I recommend upgrading to premium for the $12/year (incredible value). This will give you some more online storage and the ability to have a shared family folder. Really, giving these guys $12/year for the service they provide feels we are getting away with something.
LastPass also has a great feature where it will let you share passwords with friends/family/co-workers anybody really, all without revealing the actual password to that person you’ve shared it with. Pretty sweet for collaboration!
An advanced tip for greater security, is to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA). That means when you use your master password to log into LastPass, you’ll also need to authenticate yourself using an 2FA app (LastPass provides one) connected to your mobile phone. This really makes sure only you can get into the account even in the unlikely event that someone cracked your master password.
Don’t forget to install the LastPass app on your phone for your mobile browsing, life is just getting easier and easier!
To wrap up, LastPass is easy to use, makes your life easier, won’t cost you much and will increase your password security so you have no excuse to start using it today!