We’re not going to dive in harp on you about the importance of strong passwords. But there is not a week goes by we don’t receive an email from one of our readers who is panicked because his/her Webmail account was hacked.
Truth be known, no hacker is going to bother with an unknown person’s email account. Hackers go for the big enchilada – not the small cheese like you and me. Unless you’re famous or very wealthy, your email account was not hacked. Nope – sorry to tell you but your account wasn’t hacked — you simply left the door open for some smoozer who guessed your password.
Since Webmail providers use your email address as your username (like firstname.lastname@example.org – so your username is gizeldaamberson6124x) and that’s all a smoozer – not a hacker — needs to start guessing your password. If your password is “12345” or “password’ how long do you think it will take that smoozer to get into your account, maybe 30 seconds? Do you really think it takes a hacker to go to www.hotmail.com and type in your user name and type in 12345 as your password and “hack” your account? No – any smoozer without a life and with a little time on his/her hands could “hack” your mail account easily.
YOU NEED TO UPGRADE YOUR PASSWORDS TO STRONG PASSWORDS!
This brings us to LastPass. LastPass has a free version (which we have used with much satisfaction) and a premium version (which costs $1.00 a month – $12.00 a year). LastPass will generate strong passwords — very strong passwords — for you, and remember them for you too. And all those strong passwords are protected by one master password — the only password you will ever need to remember. But if you make that master password weak, then anyone who has access to your computer could have access to all your passwords. So it’s very important — especially if you travel or share a computer — that you create a strong but memorable password. Try combining words and numbers to create a strong master password. Say your favorite pie is Key lime. Say your first pet was named Skippy. Say you graduated from high school in June 1977. Your could make a password like keylimeskippy61977. Instead of writing your password down, write down your clues — “My favorite pie is?” “My first pet’s name was?” I graduated in this month in this year.” Now, maybe your spouse would know the answers to all those questions, but it’s a safe bet no one else would. Capiche?
Back to LastPass. If you haven’t got it – get it. It works with Chrome, Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, and Firefox. It works with Windows, Mac and Linux. If you opt for the premium version ($12 per year) it works on your Apple or Android tablet computer and/or smartphone.
Yes it’s true that LastPass stores your data in the cloud, but then again so does every one of the credit card companies too. So does your bank. So does the government, etc. The cloud is here to stay, folks. It’s not going away — it’s going to become the way we all do things in the coming years – hard drives will be come less and less essential in the future. Windows 8 is partly cloud-based (it will have its own app store). Windows 8 will run on tablets, PCs and smart phones. Microsoft may finally be catching on. (We’ll have more for you about Windows 8 when the first Beta is released.) LastPass has done a great job of protecting its customers passwords. Every one of your passwords is stored in encrypted form – only your password decrypts it.
If you’re uneasy about storing all your passwords in the cloud – LastPass has you covered there, too. LastPass (premium version only) offers something called Sesame which turns a USB flash drive into a double-layer password locker and unlocker. It’s probably the safest and easiest way ever to keep you passwords safe and secure. We’re perfectly content with LastPass Free because we’re not sweating bullets about stuff we store in the cloud – we use super-strong passwords (17 characters – letters – numbers and symbols). But we can tell by the letters we receive from you that many of your are very nervous about the cloud. And we know why too. There is so much misinformation going around about Google and Facebook and security issues — it’s hard to ferret out the truth. We understand that. So if you’re uneasy about LastPass because it stores your passwords and other vital information in the cloud – think about paying the $12 a year for LastPass Premium – and using Sesame and a USB flash drive to lock your data down tight.
LastPass has this to say about Sesame:
“LastPass Premium members can use an ordinary USB thumb drive as a second form of authentication when logging into their LastPass account. Having a physical second form of authentication will help further ensure that your account will remain safe because both your Master Password and your USB thumb drive are required to login…”
If you, like us, think LastPass Free is just dandy, you can get started by reading more about LastPass and/or downloading it here: