I Have A Password?

Have you ever said this when someone was trying to fix a problem with your computer? If you work in the tech industry you’ve likely heard this more than once.

many-locksLet’s admit it, we don’t like having to remember more things than we already have to – and having multiple passwords can be the bane of our existence! However, passwords also secure our most important data, from our social networks to our personal finances and while it may seem inconvenient, it’s never as inconvenient as having to deal with Identity Theft.

Just for fun (and a little education) here are a couple of reputable sites where you can check a potential password for strength & security. What you discover might be surprising:

Kaspersky Lab Password Checker

GRC Security

So…what’s the solution? Well, there isn’t a perfect one; we still need passwords and having a single password for multiple sites/accounts is just an accident waiting to happen. We recommend the use of a “password manager” – an app that does most of the heavy lifting for you, whether on your PC, Mobile Device or even a public computer. The main advantage of a password manager is the single sign-on – that is, you only need to remember ONE password, while the app remembers (and encrypts) all the rest! In addition, any good password manager will be able to create secure passwords that are difficult to discover (hack) and will be able to create a secure backup file of all information stored in it (remember backups? that other inconvenient, but necessary, thing we all need to do)

After using these apps for many years and experimenting with more than a few, our preference is LastPass; a cross-platform app available for free and premium use, depending on your needs.

LastPass is more than just a vault to store your passwords, though it certainly tops the list just for that; high security encryption (at the device level, so even LastPass can’t decrypt your passwords), random password generation (using any combination of characters on a keyboard – with customizable filters), secure notes, secure form fills (from addresses to credit cards) – just for example. Here’s a list of easy to use features that give it a winning mark (*Premium only):

  • Generate random passwords – The built-in password generator will create long, randomized passwords that protect you from being hacked. See how it works here.
  • old-key-1New account, new password – Don’t waste time creating a new password when registering on a website. LastPass does it for you and remembers it for later.
  • Audit your passwords – Use the LastPass Security Challenge to find weak, duplicate, old, and vulnerable passwords that are lurking in your vault.
  • Auto-change passwords – Hate changing passwords? LastPass can do it for you, in one click! Stronger passwords, without the hassle.
  • Local-only encryption – User data is encrypted and decrypted at the device level. Your master password and the passwords in your vault are kept secret, even from LastPass.
  • Leading encryption algorithms – AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes to ensure complete security in the cloud.
  • Offline access – Your LastPass vault is available offline via the extension or the apps, so you can access your passwords without an internet connection.
  • Unlimited storage for passwords & notes
  • Automatic backup
  • Automated filling of logins & forms
  • Audit passwords with Security Challenge
  • Multifactor authentication & One Time Passwords
  • Unlimited sync across all mobile & desktop devices
  • * Additional multifactor authentication options
  • * Desktop Application Passwords
  • * Shared Folders with customized permissions (1 Folder Up to 5 Users)

You’ll be hard pressed to find a device it doesn’t work on: Android, iOS, Linux, Apple, Microsoft, Firefox (Browser and OS), Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, Dolphin Browser.

Best of all, with a Password Manager, you only need to remember one password…one key, many locks! (Your master password, and the keys used to encrypt and decrypt your data, are never sent to LastPass servers, and are never accessible by LastPass)

** UPDATE: While LastPass is still our first choice, a very close second is BitWarden – Open Source, free, runs on Linux, MacOS, MS Windows, iOS, Android and pretty much every browser!

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