Weak passwords are a common cause of security breaches, but having several unique and complex passwords can be difficult to remember. We recommend using a password manager to securely store your passwords. With a password manager, you only have to remember one master password. Creating and loading the application with your log in information can take time, but once it’s complete entering passwords becomes incredibly convenient.
Different password managers have different features but are mostly based on the same idea. One master password to rule them all. This article will feature LastPass as it has a simple free version, and it was recommended to me by a few Valiant Technology engineers. There are many good password managers out there, so ask your IT professional for their recommendation.
How to create a LastPass account
First, go to LastPass.com. There is a bright red button for their free account on their main page. Click “Get LastPass free” to get started.
You will be prompted to enter your email address and create a strong master password. LastPass will tell you the criteria to follow, and even advises on how to make it memorable with a complex passphrase.
Confirm your master password and click “sign up”. You will receive a confirmation that your LastPass account has been created.
From here you can install LastPass onto your desktop or just use it while logged into the browser.
Installing LastPass on your desktop
Using the desktop application is not required, but can make some things more convenient. You can install the local desktop application of LastPass from their website, or from the app store if you are on a Mac. It may take a few seconds (or longer depending on your internet connection) to download the installer.
If yours looks like the above you can just click it when complete to start the installation process. You will need an admin to approve changes on your computer or you may already be set as a local admin.
You can use the installer for more than just the local app. Feel free to add browser extensions for any web browser you use by clicking on them to select or deselect. If you don’t want to do this just now, we have browser extension instructions below.
Lastly, you will have to log into your LastPass account anywhere you installed it to use it.
Load up your LastPass with passwords
I recommend taking the time to add your login information to LastPass from the start. This involves upfront work to secure as many log ins as you can remember having, or you can add logins as you use them.
When logged in at LastPass.com or when using the desktop application, you should see a lot of sections for secure information storage. For now, we are just going to start by entering log in credentials for your most frequently used sites.
You can start right away by clicking the plus sign at the bottom of the page. This will bring up options of what items to add. Select the password option.
If you’re planning to add a lot of the same type of entry, such as your first load of passwords, you can also start at the specific section. Tap the passwords tab on the left. Click the plus sign at the bottom right of the passwords page to add a new log in.
The top field allows you to start typing a website or service, or you can click the drop down arrow to see common ones like Google and Facebook.
Enter your user name and password. If you aren’t sure what these are, you can always go to that service’s website and locate you user name and/or reset your password. Additionally, if your browser has any passwords saved, you may be able to retrieve them from the security settings.
Another method of adding your known logins to LastPass involves using the browser extension.
Add the LastPass browser extension
One of the benefits of a password manager is that it can fill out passwords for you. While you do have the ability to discreetly copy and paste your password for logging in, using a browser add-on can be more convenient.
Additionally, this is good for new sites or passwords you don’t yet have saved. When logging into an account online, the LastPass browser extension will prompt you to save your login information. Adding that user name and password can be a very quick process. Here’s how to install the extension.
The easiest way to add the browser extension is to follows the prompts when first signing up for LastPass. Otherwise, you can follow this link to lastpass.com for download options.
The example below shows the LastPass extension in the Chrome web store. Click “add to Chrome”. You may receive a pop up asking you to confirm adding the extension.
Once you confirm, you will be prompted to log into the browser extension using your secure master password.
The next time you log into a site that you have stored in LastPass, you will see a new symbol in the password field. Click it to bring up the LastPass app. Hover over the user name to reveal the fill in password option, and click it. Alternatively, you can click to copy the password so you can paste it in the appropriate field.
Download the LastPass mobile application
Go to the Google Play Store or the App store to download LastPass app to your phone or tablet. You want the original LastPass for this as pictured below. You can also use LastPass authenticator for your multi-factor authentication needs if desired.
Open the app and log in using the strong and secure password you created above. You may notice on the first screen that you could have created your account from the mobile application. However, the security features on the LastPass app prevent anyone from taking a screenshot while in the application. Great for security; not as useful when making a KB article on how to sign up for their service.
Side note: There is often a tug-of-war between security and convenience, and as IT professionals, we recommend erring on the side of security.
More to secure with LastPass
You can use LastPass to store logins for multiple accounts, but it also can be used for information like your address and secure notes. The address one is especially helpful as it can help you fill out online forms faster. There are many features included in the free version that I recommend exploring on your own.
Using a password manager is a great way to ensure that passwords are stored in a secure manner. Follow all password security best practices to help prevent breaches. If you’re interested in learning about standardizing your office with a password manager like LastPass, be sure to discuss with your IT manager. Here at Valiant Technology we offer comprehensive IT assessments to help you make the right security and technology choices for your business. Contact us to learn more.
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