How To Manage Your Passwords
Passwords are the keys to our digital lives. Whether it’s accessing your e-mail or Facebook, completing an online order with a credit card or simply unlocking your smartphone – we need them. But the problem is this: Passwords are hard to remember and easy to steal. Given the breadth of our digital experience, we require countless passwords, each of them unique and hard to crack, making it incredibly difficult to remember them all. But there’s a much simpler and secure way to manage passwords, and it’ll be the last password you have to remember.
LastPass is a password management tool that runs within your browser and saves you a lot of time. It works on the principle that it’s easier to remember one complex password (called a ‘master password) than many. Once you are logged into LastPass, it will do all the dirty work for you. There are four parts to LastPass, which have been explained below:
Part 2: Selecting a Master Password
Here’s an obvious but useful tip on choosing a master password. Since it’s the onlyone you’ll have to remember, make it complex, but in a way that’s easy to remember.
Consider this strategy: Let’s say you were born in March of 1985 and your favourite song is ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon. Your password can be simply your birthday + Twinkle Twinkly Little Star.
Try “85+TwTwLiSt+MarcH” – That’s a pretty strong password (but don’t use this one, of course). Pick a sentence and an important number. The combination of lower and upper case letters and a few numericals/symbols will make your password reasonably secure.
Part 2: Logging In to LastPass
Remember the tagline? It’s no exaggeration. The master password is literally the last password you will ever have to remember. To access your passwords, simply click on the LastPass icon next to the address bar (circled in red below) in your browser.
You will be taken to the log-in window shown below. Enter your master password and you’ll be logged in to LastPass.
Part 2: Generating New Passwords
By using LastPass, you can eliminate the need to think up passwords for all your accounts. Let’s say you want to sign up for a new account on Yahoo. You can use LastPass to generate a strong password and also remember it for you. Go to Yahoo’s honmepage and click on the ‘x’ circled in yellow and the ‘Generate’ icon, also circled in yellow. Decide the strength of the password you want to generate (how many characters, whether to use symbols and numericals , make it pronounceable etc.). Click ‘use password’ and you’re set.
Part 3: Saving Passwords
Part 2 explains how to generate and save passwords for new accounts. For websites you already use (like Facebook or Gmail) just log in manually and LastPass will display a window prompting you to save the password, like this:
By clicking ‘save site’, the username and password will be stored in your ‘LastPass vault’, which is a secure database containing all of your passwords. You can also store private notes, ATM pins and credit card details in a digital vault – with the comfort that it is that is only accessible to you, and is secure behind a complex master password.
Part 4: Entering Passwords
This is the part that saves you a lot of time on a daily basis. Once you’ve logged in to LastPass with the master password, you will never have to enter another password till you log out.
Let’s say I want to sign into Facebook first thing in the morning. I first log in to LastPass and see this on the Facebook homepage:
My Facebook password has automatically been filled in (and to be honest, I don’t even know what it is). If you’re the paranoid type, you can have LastPass ask you to re-enter the master password. This is especially useful for credit card transactions or even your mail. But you’ll always have to only remember one password. Also remember that you can always go into your vault and decide whether to disable auto-fill, auto-login or password re-prompts for certain sites. It’s in your control.
Passwords seem like they are here to stay (for a while at least). Till we develop a more reliable and convenient alternative, LastPass is a good way to manage your passwords. Best of all, it’s free! (on desktop, and $1 a month for mobile). You can download it here to use on any browser for free. Hope this guide was useful and it saves you some of your precious time. If this primer helped you, or you have any questions or comments, please use the contact page to get in touch.
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