Password, 123456, qwerty, monkey and letmein—these represent some of the most frequently used passwords around.
And, let’s face it—these common, insecure passwords are a little like waving a red flag at a bull (though it’s not “Ole’!” you’ll be shouting when a clever hacker steals your valuable personal information and treats himself to a generous shopping spree on your dime).
So, keep your critical information secure with strong, unique passwords for each and every one of your accounts—from email accounts and social media profiles to online banking accounts and shopping sites.
Of course, you’d need a mind like a steel trap to remember them all…
If yours (like mine) functions a little bit more like a metal colander, a password manager is just the tool you need.
Five reasons I love LastPass password manager
This web browser plug-in makes surfing, connecting and purchasing on the web safer and easier than ever. It will:
1. Store all of your passwords and other personal data (like credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and shipping addresses)
2. Encrypt/decrypt all of your data locally (on your computer or mobile device)—no one at LastPass will ever be able to access your important data
3. Generate highly secure passwords to protect you from identity theft
4. Log you into websites with the click of a mouse
5. Automatically fill in online forms
Installing LastPass on your computer is a snap
You only need to follow three simple steps to get you on your way to online data security—it’s really that easy.
1. Download LastPass. If you visit the LastPass website, it will recommend the correct download for your unique operating system and browser configuration. (If you’re on a Mac, you’ll need to download an add-on for each browser you use to surf the web.)
2. Set your master password. This is the only password you’ll need to remember. Ever. To make sure it’s secure, we recommend that your master password:
• Be at least eight characters long
• Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
• Doesn’t use your real name, user name or company name
• Doesn’t use a complete word
3. Restart your browser. When you log back in, you’ll see an icon in your browser toolbar. When logged into LastPass, it will appear red; when logged out, it will turn grey.
LastPass password vault—Store your information gold securely
First things, first: to use LastPass, you need to collect and store your passwords. You can start by importing any passwords currently stored on your computer using the Import function available in the Actions menu. You can also collect passwords while you surf. If you’re logged into LastPass, the next time you log into a site, you’ll be prompted to store that data in your password vault, as well. Once these logins are stored in LastPass, you’ll be able to auto-login the next time you visit.
P@s$w0rd! Generation—Keep the bad guys out with highly secure logins
Setting up a new gmail account? Creating an Amazon.com profile? Let LastPass create a highly secure password for you. All you have to do is click on the LastPass icon, select Tools from the dropdown menu and click Generate Secure Password. This impossible-to-remember password will be tucked safely away in your vault and will be auto-filled when you surf to the site the next time around.
Automatic form filling—Why online forms don’t make me grumble anymore
Do you hate filling out your billing, shipping and credit card information with every online purchase as much as I do? You can avoid the task altogether with LastPass. Select Add Profile from the Fill Forms menu and enter your data. You can create separate profiles for personal and business credit cards, for example. The next time you make a purchase online, LastPass will detect the form and prompt you to auto-fill. Click the Fill Form button, select the correct profile and presto-change-o, the work is done for you—safely and securely.
I *heart* LastPass
For a tool that protects you from identity theft and eliminates some of the most common hassles associated with utilizing the web—you just can’t beat the price…because it’s free. For a $1/month fee, you can also upgrade to the premium version, which allows you to login to sites and auto-fill forms from your mobile device, as well.
So, disregard the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” because, in this case, it really is that good.