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LastPass: Secure and Optimize Passwords across Services and Users (freeware)

Written by Mike Olsen

How to get around problems like the giant Yahoo hack from last week. Our freeware pick today is LastPass. And it’s FREE.

A couple of weeks ago, some 400K Yahoo passwords and emails  were compromised showing — CLICK HERE to see if yours was one of those posted —  hacking and exploiting personal information is getting dangerously common. Enough with the madness. My Freeware pick to help you better manage and secure passwords — alone or in bulk — is LastPass.

Here’s how to get started. Head on to lastpass.com and download it.


LastPass is free. The premium version, at just $12 a year, gives you access to the mobile app. The mobile app lets you  view, edit, and delete your passwords on your phone. If you like the free version, you can always come back and opt for the paid mobile version later.

Once you download and install the program, LastPass walks you through the setup. First select all the browsers you use on your computer.

Last Pass

Next LastPass prompts you to create an account.

Last Pass

After you set up your account, LastPass asks for permission to find insecure data on your computer. Selecting “yes” lets it find all the user names and passwords stored in your browsers.

Last Pass

Next, LastPass imports your user names and passwords to your LastPass Vault.

LastPass

The last part of the installation prompts you to remove all the saved passwords from your browser. Selecting “yes” here is the best option as it simply becomes redundant and confusing to use both your browser and LastPass to manage passwords.

LastPass

Once installed, LastPass is pretty straightforward to use. As an example, here I am setting a new account The Verge, LastPass automatically asks me if I want it to generate a new password. Cick the Generate button. LastPass generates a random secure password, fills in the form, and saves your password to your LastPass Vault.

The Verge

LastPass also helps you automate changing a password. Here I have navigated to the Change Password page for my “New York Times” account. LastPass offers to fill in my current password and generate a new password. This is one of the key features of LastPass. Using this, I have replaced my passwords on the web services I use and now each site has a random, unique, secure password.

New York Times

 

To use LastPass on different computers and with different accounts — and I highly recommend that, just install the browser plugin and sign in. There’s a Firefox plugin and a Chrome version. If you use Internet Explorer, you will need to download the LastPass software on each computer.

Firefox

Chrome

LastPass is simple, secure and takes the hassle out of password management.

About the author

Mike Olsen

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michael Olsen is a tech enthusiast and part-time freelance journalist. When not obsessing about technology, he is a staff manager at The University of Michigan. Catch his blog at http://www.techimprovement.com, email him at mikeo@anewdomain.net, follow him on Twitter @olsenmike and Google+ at http://goo.gl/EthtP.