This post is part of a periodic series about The Tools I Use.
Years ago, as I started to use more and more online services, I realized that remembering passwords was going to become a problem. I initially started out using a simple algorithm based on the site’s name and some other information. That worked OK, but various sites had different password requirements that wouldn’t always fit my algorithm. Corporate mergers and buyouts also had an impact, since that would change the name of the site.
When this approach started to break down, I started looking at password management tools and applications. I ultimately decided on LastPass. Of the options I considered at the time, it seemed to me to be the best fit for my needs.
LastPass has browser extensions for all of the major browsers. There are also apps for the major mobile platforms, though those require the premium version of LastPass for full functionality.
In addition to managing existing passwords, LastPass also has tools for generating new passwords using a nicely customizable approach, for filling in online forms, and even for adding secure notes and attaching documents and images. There is a way to share a site login with someone else without actually exposing the password. You can share and then revoke access as needed. There’s an on-screen keyboard option for situations where you’re worried about keystroke logging.
I’m still not completely comfortable with all of my passwords being stored online, but my understanding of how LastPass works makes me feel better. All encryption/decryption is done locally on my device, so my encryption key is never exposed to LastPass or anyone else. It supports multi-factor authentication as well, with several options at the free level and more at the premium level.
A couple of years ago, there was a potential security issue with LastPass that got a lot of attention. I was really impressed with the way the incident was handled by the company and that has increased my confidence in them.
Overall, I’ve been really happy with LastPass and I highly recommend it.