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SmallLaw: Review: LastPass Password Manager

By Erik Mazzone | Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Originally published on January 18, 2011 in our free SmallLaw newsletter. Instead of reading SmallLaw here after the fact, sign up now to receive future issues in realtime.

TechnoScore: 4.5
1 = Lowest Possible Score; 5 = Highest Possible Score

SmallLaw-01-18-11-450

Introduction

Is yours long or short? Do you use it over and over again or just once in a while? Is it named after your pet? I should clarify that I'm referring to your password. Don't give me that "which password?" stuff. You know which password I'm talking about. The password you use over and over again that you know by heart. The one that you use to access everything from Amazon to your checking account. The one that would cause you a heap of trouble if the wrong person got hold of it. Old Faithful.

Lawyers like us who subscribe to SmallLaw know that we should create long, unique passwords with numbers, letters and special characters and then lock them away so deeply in our gray matter we would have to undergo waterboarding to give them up. But given our busy lives in small law firms, it's so much easier just to use Old Faithful. In the battle between safe surfing and convenient login, many of us choose convenience and hope for the best. It doesn't have to be this way, though.

Meet LastPass

LastPass is a password manager that acts as a safe deposit box for all your passwords. It is cross-platform (Mac, Windows, and Linux), cross-browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Explorer) and mobile friendly (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone). You choose one strong master password to remember and LastPass does the rest. Best of all, LastPass is free.

LastPass does a lot more than just keep your passwords secure and synced across devices, though. Below you'll learn about a few other LastPass features that make your Internet life more convenient and more secure.

1. One Click Login

LastPass resides in your browser's toolbar and enables you to launch and log into secure Web sites with one click. This functionality might not sound like much, but once you start using LastPass to quickly enter Web sites, you will wonder why you ever spent so much time keying in Old Faithful.

2. Secure Notes

LastPass can hold more than just usernames and passwords. It also can store secure, encrypted notes for any other text-based information you choose. Bank account numbers, security alarm codes, etc. — drop them in LastPass and stop worrying.

3. Fill Forms

Say goodbye to filling the same old information into online forms over and over. LastPass will fill these forms for you using multiple identities (work, home, etc.). It is a time saver and accuracy improver.

4. Generate Passwords

Having trouble coming up with yet another long, unique password? LastPass can generate passwords for you according to the specifications (number of characters, types of characters to use, etc.) you set. As long as you remember your master password, you can always retrieve the secure passwords that LastPass randomly generated for you.

5. Share Your Password Without Disclosing It

Need other people to use your passwords but hate feeling vulnerable giving away the keys to the castle? LastPass enables you to share your passwords with other users. They can use your password but never actually see it. You can also revoke the sharing any time you choose.

6. Mobile Costs Money

If you like LastPass you will also want it on your mobile devices, requiring an upgrade to LastPass Premium ($1 per month). The $12 per year is money well spent in my estimation. That said, the mobile version needs a little fine-tuning. It's not as easy to use as it should be. It kind of wants to replace the browser instead of integrating with the browser, which results in a lot of cutting and pasting.

Conclusion

Secure, convenient, and affordable, LastPass is a great addition to your online life. If you make just one change in 2011 to improve your digital security, consider LastPass.

Written by Erik Mazzone of Law Practice Matters.

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Topics: Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Online/Cloud | Privacy/Security | SmallLaw
 
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