The road to password immunity

Today, I’m going to do a quick review of Lastpass. I have been religiously using it towards the end of 2017. Before that, I was using it on and off because I haven’t fully migrated all my accounts to Lastpass and I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed about the process of using an extension or app to login. It was a novel idea but felt extremely cumbersome when I first started using Lastpass.

I believe that everyone jumping into the password manager bandwagon will share the same thought. The thing that pushed me to fully embrace Lastpass is a video by the verge which explained the process of using a password manager. Watch the video below to see what I mean.

Phase 1

After watching the pretty convincing video about using a password manager, I started using Lastpass more aggressively. I ramped up my usage of Lastpass in the course of two months and I was getting used to the idea of not typing my password and just clicking through the interface to sign in.

In that short amount of time, I migrated my core accounts such as emails and social network accounts. I would say that was about 50 or so accounts. Along the way of migrating a couple of accounts, I also started using the Lastpass secure password generator to update my reused passwords and to create password for new accounts that I was creating.

The more accounts I added, the more confident that I felt about using Lastpass. By the time, I got all my essential accounts that I used on a daily basis into Lastpass, I felt extremely good about using a password manager. Which leads me to the second phase of my Lastpass experience which is advocating for the use of a password manager.

Phase 2

By this time, I had a profound understanding of why a password manager is useful. I felt like I was doing something right each time that I signed in using the password manager. Naturally, I wanted everyone else to learn how to use a password manager too. It wasn’t very easy to convince people that they should ditch remembering passwords for a password manager.

But I did manage to get a couple people onboard, whether or not they continued using the password manager is yet another story to tell. But of the people that I introduced Lastpass to, they found it to be a rather ingenious idea as it makes sharing passwords easier and saves the hassle of creating a new password for every other account.

In the same time, my journey of migrating all my accounts to Lastpass continued with hunting down websites that I had accounts with. I personally kept a ledger of accounts that I had on OneNote. It was a super low-tech version of a password manager that was not really safe. I didn’t write my password on there but I did leave hints as to what the passwords were.

I had about 300 accounts listed there and they were a mixture of accounts that I accrued in the past few years. The way I tackled the migration of accounts is that I would do several at a time because moving all of the accounts to Lastpass at once is just not feasible.

The act of adding a password onto Lastpass is not as easy as it sounds. Adding the password itself is pretty straight forward, the hard part is trying to change that password. Different websites nest their password changing button in different places and some required answering security questions which took a while for me to remember.

As a whole, I took about 6 months to completely add all the accounts I had on my OneNote ledger to my Lastpass account. It was a pretty momentus day when I finally clicked the delete button to delete the ledger page on my OneNote.

Phase 3

The last few passwords that I added to Lastpass was my bank login credentials and my main email address. The reason why I added these last was because I constantly access these sites and I had a preference to have the password in my mind rather than having a randomly generated password to remember. That would be pretty cumbersome.

In the end, I decided to add those accounts onto Lastpass and just try to remember the passwords. One good thing about the Lastpass random password generator is that it can generate a password that is easily readable. Unfortunately, easily readable doesn’t mean it is easily memorizable.

But, I think that’s what it is a the end of the day, the idea behind Lastpass or any other password generator is that you just need to remember one password and that will unlock the world to a whole vault full of unique and strong passwords.

Flaws

Its been about a year that I committed myself to using a password manager and there is still some nuances that are still around today. The first being the way passwords are saved and updated automatically on Lastpass’s browser extension. There is a slight delay where the toast notification pops up stating that it had updated the password in Lastpass.

I am extremely paranoid about the password not updating because I had several instances in the early days where the password did not save and I had to go through the password reset process which was fairly annoying. So, till today, I have little faith that the toast notification will work every single time so I opt to copy the password just in case it doesn’t end up automatically saving.

The next big gripe that I have is the software experience. The Lastpass app interface is wildly inconsistent in my experience. I use the Chrome extension and Android app on a daily basis. The experience with the Chrome extension is mostly good but with the android app, it is sort of a hit or miss.

It is especially cumbersome with some apps as the app doesn’t automatically autofill the username and password. To overcome that, I have to manually copy and paste the credentials. Also problematic with the android app is that the search functionality is a little slow, sometimes it ends up completely not working which forces me to scroll down through a very long list to find the password that I am looking for.

Overall, I would say the experience is good but there is definitely room for improvement. I would undoubtedly recommend anyone to give Lastpass or any other password manager such as 1Password a try as it will improve your security on the internet. And the beauty of Lastpass or any other password manager is that it is not just a ‘locker’ for passwords, it is like a secure safe where you can keep notes such as your bank accounts, ID numbers, etc.

Try out Lastpass today!

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