LastPass Info

A better solution than saving your passwords in your browser is to use a program like Lastpass which is available for free from for use on PCs, laptops and iPads.  To use the program on Smartphones you have to pay a small fee of $12 per year.

This program runs as an add-on to your web browser and it gives you the option to store your website user IDs and passwords for future use.  This data is encrypted on the fly, saved to your computer, and synchronized to an online system owned by Lastpass.  At first I steered away from this type of system.  I thought, “There is NO WAY I’m going to store my user ID and password for my online banking and other systems on a server out on the Internet!  If that server gets hacked, the hacker might gain access to everyone’s data!”

But after a coworker encouraged me to check further into Lastpass, I learned that the data is encrypted before it is ever stored or synchronized to the Lastpass online system.  So even if the Lastpass site was hacked, the hacker is only going to get gibberish which is unusable to them.  Even the Lastpass staff cannot reverse engineer that data without your Lastpass password.  This solution is similar to what I’m already doing with Keepass and Dropbox, but Lastpass hooks into my web browser making it easy to fill in this data for me when I visit a website.

Lastpass also allows the sharing of specific password records between users.  I installed Lastpass on Krista’s home PC with an account for her, and then I shared the details from my laptop to her account for the websites that we both need to access with the same user ID.  The process to share websites seems a bit clumsy but it is functional, and she really appreciates just being able to have her user ID filled in automatically instead of looking it up in Keepass.

Lastpass even has the option to import all the data from my Keepass file, or from a browser if you used that to memorize passwords, or from other common password storage systems, so I didn’t have to recreate all of that info in Lastpass.  We are still using Keepass for our kids password security needs, but now Krista and I rely on Lastpass for our more complex needs.

Since I wanted this information on my Smartphone, I also paid the $12 annual fee to be able to install Lastpass on my phone.  That is really helpful when I’m away from my laptop, for example out shopping with Krista, and I need to access something secure.  You would be surprised how often that happens!

Both Lastpass and Keepass allow storing other things than just websites and passwords.  I save other data in Lastpass, such as the driver’s license numbers for all of our family members (sometimes needed when doing things with college funding for our kids for example), or the list of general medical history for each family member, and the contact info for our physicians.  This way it is still secure but accessible when I need it.