With so many sites, apps and services requiring the use of a password, and our memories being a little limited, there is temptation to either use simple, easy to remember passwords, or keep using the same password over and over again. Both are massive security risks, and LastPass offers itself up as a solution. It's a great alternative to anyone who is concerned about having their web browser store such information for fear of where it may end up.
The idea behind the tool is very simple. Rather than having to manually type your passwords for websites, LastPass can do it for you; it even allows you easily log into multiple accounts. All of your login details are saved in a vault, secured with a master password. The same idea is extended to web forms so you can save yourself from having to manually type your address, credit card details and other common pieces of personal information.
If you don’t mind paying $12 (about £10, AU$15) a year, you can upgrade to LastPass Premium. This enables you to use LastPass with applications as well as websites, and grants you access to 1GB of encrypted online storage. For most people, however, the free version of the tool should be more than enough.
LastPass is available as a browser extension and an app for all platforms and mobile devices, where it integrates very tightly so it really feels like part of the furniture. When you install it, you can import your saved passwords from your web browser – and then delete them for security – and as you use the web you will be prompted to save any new passwords you enter.
Importantly, passwords can be synchronized between devices so you can transfer data between different computers you use. The web-based interface used to edit, manage, share and delete the data you save is slightly clunky but not enough to be a complete turn-off.
Even if you don't want to use it to store your logins, it's worth installing LastPass to run the Security Challenge so you can find out how many of your passwords are weak, and whether any of your email addresses may have been compromised. This might convince you to take security more seriously and to start using the tool.