Forgetful? Lazy? Human? A good password manager can make up for all your flaws
30 SEP 20160
When it comes to online security, it's all to easy to fall into bad habits. As we hurtle towards an increasingly app and service fueled future, the number of passwords and login schemes we have to remember seem to balloon everyday. Keeping track of one or two strong passwords is no big deal. But remembering a dozen? Two dozen? Well, that's a different story.
So we drift into sloppy habits. We stop making those long, complicated, and secure passwords that keep our accounts safe, instead we just tap in something fast and easy. Or, maybe we start using the same password or two in different places, and then what happens? Some data-breech at a major service exposes your password and instead of having to deal with just one compromised account (which is bad enough), you have to wrestle with a bunch (at which point it might just be easier to burn what's left of your ID and embrace your new life as a drifter who lives in the woods).
People are bad at passwords. That's why you need a machine for the job. You need a password manager to take the hassle out of managing all the alphanumeric, cap-sensitive, no fewer than ten character long, strings that make up your life.
Password managers like LastPass are a terrific solution for maintaining your online security without having to spend hours every night studying flashcards of your passwords. While there are several password managers out there to consider, LastPass is a particularly effective and popular example making it a great place to start. Once your up and running with it, password generation, organization, and use is so absolutely effortless that you'll wonder how you ever did without it.
You start by creating a master LastPass account that can be used on all your browsers and devices. Once created, LastPass will automatically manage and sort your passwords for you. It will even help identify weak or insecure passes and automatically generate stronger alternatives. All you need to do is remember the account level master password, and the rest takes care of itself seamlessly.
Of course, the first objection many users have to this kind of system is that it seems like putting all your eggs in one basket. Sure, LastPass will generate a dozen unique, super-complicated passwords for your different accounts, but what happens if there is a breech (like the one that happened last year) at LastPass? Well, the beauty of their system is not even LastPass knows your master password. That info is never sent to them and all encryption is down at the device level, meaning you have a unique encryption key they don't know. LastPass couldn't reveal your "vault” of passwords to anyone even if they wanted to, they simply don't know.
This does bring us to the one large catch with a strong password manager system like this though. It is absolutely crucial to remember your master password. Forget that and all you can do is hope you provided a good enough password hint to jog your memory. That sounds like a fair compromise to me. I would rather remember one complicated password instead of a handful of weak and random phrases and passes.
Don't let laziness and sloppy habits expose you to data-breeches and the risks of account hijacking. A decent password manager can take the grunt work out of remembering and entering long unique passwords while keeping you secure and protected.