Benefits and Costs
As regular readers will know, I recently wrote about the benefits of using a password manager along with a description of how to set up and use the free password manager Keepass – click here to view that article
While this free option works well, is reliable and most importantly secure (and did I mention it’s free??), there are also paid solutions that make the process of managing your passwords more streamlined. For less technical users this is definitely a more useful option.
We at Coppertops have recently set up and started using LastPass and have literally fallen in love with it as it has made our lives a million times simpler every single day.
There is a free version of LastPass, but for us it was essential to be able to use our passwords on mobile devices and to share some common passwords. For these reasons we have signed up for the Premium version. For the massive sum of $12 (about €9) each – PER YEAR! Even better, if you sign up on a referral link from a current LastPass user both the referrer and the referree get a free month’s premium subscription.
How it works
Once you sign up you create a vault, which is where you will store all of your passwords. You have a single password to remember, your login for LastPass, and the tool will do the rest for you.
As well as passwords, you can store secure notes. A good place for any pieces of information that you need to remember but you want to protect.
It’s a good idea to create folders to group passwords in a way that makes sense, so they are easier to manage. They can be grouped in any way that makes sense to you, your vault is private!
Add the plugin for whichever browser you use, and install the app on your mobile device. Once these are installed everything becomes incredibly simple when it comes to passwords.
When you come to a login page, there is a small star in the right of the username and password boxes. If you have a password stored which matches the site you are on, there will be a 1 beside the star. If you have multiple passwords stored, there will be another number. Either way, click on the star to show any passwords saved which are a match and click on the one that you wish to use to auto fill the login details.
Alternatively, if you click on the LastPass plugin button on the toolbar of the browser you can search for a site, click on it and launch it – this opens a new tab with the site, auto fills the selected login details and logs you in! How simple is that?!
Possibly even better, when you come to a registration page, there is a small circular arrow in the password field. Click on this to open the password generator. You can select various options depending on the requirements for passwords on the site, but I’d suggest using a mix of every type of character and a password of about 18 chars. Once you click the button to use the password, you get the option to save the site. You can choose to save as a new entry, or update an existing one – so if you change your password you can modify the existing entry rather than creating any duplicates.
You can even save form fills, so LastPass will auto fill entire forms for you using information that you enter once!
As if all of that wasn’t cool enough, LastPass has a couple of extra features which really clinch the deal.
Sharing folders – as I mentioned above, this feature is only available for Premium members. You can share all of the entries in a folder with another LastPass users, so both people have access to all of the passwords and changes are available to both instantly.
Sharing passwords – You can share a password with another user, and even better you can choose whether they can see the password or whether they can simply use that password to log in to a site. This means that you can share a password with somebody and revoke access without any risk of them having taken note of the password in any way to retain access. Complete control over your passwords!
Security check – In current times when hacking and security leaks seem to be all too common, this is a fantastic tool. LastPass will scan all of your passwords and check their level of security. It will tell you if you’ve used a password on multiple sites, if your passwords are too easy to crack and generally give you a report on how securely you are managing all of your logins. This gives you the opportunity to audit your passwords and improve security in a really controlled way, and also to review progress to make sure that any improvements you do make are effective.