Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last Pass

Something else I've been trying out is LastPass. Essentially, it will save all of your logins and passwords for sites you visit and automatically fill in the info/login for you when you later visit the site. So, you really just need to remember one password, for lastpass.com, and it does the rest for you. Everything is encrypted and saved within your "vault." In addition to saved logins and passwords, you can fill in common information to forms, which can also be automatically filled in for you when you visit sites. So, for example, you can input your address, phone number, credit card info, etc., and when you go to a website requiring you to input any of this information, lastpass will fill it in for you. Nothing is submitted right away, allowing you to edit whatever needs to be edited first. You can also write secure notes in your vault, edit any entries for saved websites, import passwords you already have saved in your browser or other password management software, and export your passwords. And one of the nicest features is a tool to generate an unlimited amount of random passwords. Since I no longer have to remember passwords, I can generate these more secure, random ones for all of the sites I visit.

Initially, it is a bit of setup, especially if you take advantage of generating new passwords for all of the sites you frequent, like I did. I basically just cleared all my cookies, then went through all my bookmarks and logged in. As you log in, LastPass asks if you want the site saved, which you can edit later. Or, you can manually add sites and enter all the relevant information. Once I was logged into the sites, I went and changed any necessary information on the site, like email and password. I used the random password generator tool with a simple keypress. The password generator gives you options for the number of characters, the types of characters to use (upper- and lowercase letters, digits, and/or special characters), and the minimum digit count to use in the password. LastPass detects whenever the password changes and asks if you want to update your entry. But, if you change your username, you have to manually edit that in the entry. It took me about two nights worth to get everything settled.

Unlike some of the other password management software I saw out there, it stores an unlimited amount of different passwords, allowing you to have a unique password for every site you visit. You also don't need to carry around a flash drive with the program on it or anything if you are going to be using different computers. If you are at a different computer, you can just log in to the lastpass.com website and access your vault and use the entries like bookmarks. Within the vault, you can organize your bookmarks into groups, as well. There is also a Firefox add-on that lets me use the full functionality without having to access the lastpass.com website.

Overall, it's a pretty handy tool. It does have some problems logging into my homepage, Netvibes. But, you can submit feedback about individual sites, so hopefully that will get adjusted sometime. I also ran into some problems when trying to switch my passwords on different sites. But, those problems were with the sites themselves being unclear about what types of characters were ok for passwords, or limitations on the number of characters the passwords had to be, and not problems with LastPass. But, even so, if you are changing your password, make sure you fill out those questions they want you to fill out just in case you end up entering the wrong password into your entry for the site, or the site doesn't save the correct password. It's usually easy to catch those mistakes right away, though, by logging out and using LastPass to log back into the site.

3 comments:

Jessica said...

hi mike!

Jessica said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE!!!!

Mat said...

I just stated using this, and I love it. Great review!

Let's see some more!