If you’re like me, you use dozens of websites on a regular basis. Most require a user account and a password. In the old days, you’d just use the same password for each account so that you didn’t have to write it down. But we don’t live in the “old days”. Nope. We’ve got heartbleed and trojan viruses and all sorts of compromising hackers to deal with.
So now you have a different user account and password for every website you go to. Some require 8 characters, some 12. Some website passwords are case sensitive and others require strange characters that make it look like you’re angrily cursing at the computer: #%$!&*
All the experts say:
- Don’t use the same password twice
- Don’t write your password down
- Use complex mixtures of uppercase, lowercase, special characters and numbers
What’s your typical civilian internet user to do?
Some folks recommend using phrases that you might remember and taking the first letter and any numbers from each word to create your password. For example:
“My first pet was a Dog named Sparky!”
Now, while that’s a theoretically a cool trick that creates a unique and strong password, it doesn’t resolve our original issue of remembering the passwords in the first place. Instead of many passwords to remember, you’ve got to remember many phrases. No fun.
What I recommend is an awesome service called LastPass. LastPass uses a single password to lock away all your other passwords in a “vault”. Their convenient browser plugin allows your usernames and passwords to be entered automatically on any website. They will generate secure passwords for you and ask to store those automatically. When your password changes, they recognize the change and offer to update your password in the vault.
Best of all, LastPass is free.
Need to share a password with someone? Go ahead. LastPass will encrypt the password for you so that the password they see isn’t the password that gets used. Also, you can allow someone editing access and if they change a password you shared with them, LastPass will update your records. So cool!
If that wasn’t cool enough, for $12/year, LastPass Premium version allows you to access your passwords on your mobile device as well. And if you fill out forms regularly, their Form Fills feature will auto-fill your form securely, including name, age, sex, address, contact info and credit card numbers, if you choose.
So, instead of strange phrases and yellow-pads with illegibly scribbled notes, give LastPass Premium a try.