Consolidate All Your Passwords Into One Manageable Login with LastPass
You use the same password for most websites. You know you shouldn’t but you’re busy. Back when you joined Facebook, you registered with your trusty password. A year ago, when you bought shoes from Some_Obscure_Site_I’ll_Never_Use_Again.com, you used your trusty password for that as well.
Now, if someone asks, you’ll genuinely think you’ve never heard of Some_Obscure_Site_I’ll_Never_Use_Again.com, let alone remember that you created a login for it. Sound familiar?
If it does, your password could be in the hands of hackers and they could be trying to log in to your more important accounts, like your email. Recent breaches at Nvidia (to steal passwords), LinkedIn (to steal 6.5m passwords) and Yahoo Voices (to steal 450,000 usernames and passwords) are testament to that. Most people are guilty of using the same password on more than one site. It’s a risky practice.
LastPass is a web browser add-on that generates secure passwords for all your sites and remembers them for you. There are versions for most browsers on PC, Linux and Mac machines, including Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. You can download it at lastpass.com where, if you click the button highlighted in blue above, LastPass will even recommend the right version to match your computer and browser.
How it Works
After you install LastPass, a red and white icon is added to the top right of your browser. You click that to log into LastPass. From then on, each time you log into a site LastPass will ask if you want it to remember your login details. The next time you visit that site it can automatically log you in.
If LastPass spots that you are registering with a new site, it will offer to generate a secure password. If you accept, it will populate the password and ‘retype password’ fields with the new password for you. It can do this when you change your password on a site it’s already remembering for you as well.
The LastPass Vault
Within a week or two of web browsing, you’ll add most of the sites you use regularly to LastPass. You’ll be amazed how many different logins you are juggling. It’s quite satisfying to collect all of them in one place.
The LastPass Vault, accessed from the LastPass icon at the top right of your browser, maintains a list of all your sites. You can edit the details for a site, view your passwords or delete a site. You can also securely share the login details for a site with other LastPass users.
LastPass uses the AES-256 standard to encrypt and decrypt your data (your usernames, sites, passwords etc). This is often referred to as “government-level” or “military-grade” encryption because it’s used to secure top secret information. Imagine a big paragraph of nonsense characters. That’s what your data looks like once it’s encrypted.
This encryption happens on your computer, before your data is sent to LastPass’s server. You can log into LastPass on other computers and access the login credentials for your various websites because LastPass has a copy of your encrypted data.
Your encrypted data is also stored on your computer; so if the LastPass site ever goes down, or your internet connection fails, you can still log into last pass and access your usernames and passwords.
If you want to make sure you have a backup of all your site and password information offline, download a program called LastPass Pocket. Most people have a few spare USB drives these days. You can install LastPass Pocket on one of those, along with an encrypted copy of your data. The program lets you view your sites and credentials in a similar way to LastPass Vault.
LastPass also has a form filling feature. You can, for example, store your billing address and credit card information. When you need it for an online checkout, LastPass can populate the form fields for you, using your stored billing information.
If you sign up for LastPass premium, you can use LastPass on iOS and Android mobile devices. It costs about £1 a month.
This short YouTube video will help you get started with LastPass:
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