Don’t let hackers steal your money!The Money Shot Thursday, August 21st, 2014
First it was the Target store data theft that occurred around the holidays last year. That was followed up with the Heartbleed virus. Now some group of Russian gangsters has stolen a billion user IDs and passwords. I’m fed up!
No one has time to keep changing passwords every few months. Most people are probably like me. I have a long list of login information in the desk drawer. It’s not exactly secure or very effective. I feel completely defenseless to protect my financial accounts. Identity theft is real and has happened to clients and friends. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before I get hit.
Before changing all my passwords after this most recent security breach, I decided to do some research to find out if there is a way to make login information easier to manage and more secure. I ended up discovering a program called LastPass, a secure vault to store all of your login information.
Here’s a short overview of how it works. You download the software at www.lastpass.com. You create one master password. This is the only password you must remember. LastPass scans your computer for insecure login information stored in your browser and uploads this information to your password vault. As you login to Web sites, LastPass asks if you’d like to add it to your vault.
Eventually, you have a password vault with all of your login information securely stored. You never have to type in user IDs and passwords again. LastPass signs off every time you close your browser. This is a great feature so be sure to choose this setting. Just login to LastPass whenever surfing the Internet and you have access to your user IDs and passwords.
LastPass has cool features that make passwords sort of fun. There is the Security Challenge where the software grades the strength of your current passwords. My score was a low 39 percent. Then it walks you through ways to improve your score. The Security Challenge also checks your email addresses to see if they have been involved in any previous security breaches.
The Password Generator, another feature, will create ridiculously difficult passwords to replace weak passwords. It’s surprisingly easy to replace a weak password with a strong one created by the program. Then it stores that new information for the next time you login.
LastPass works on all of your devices.
And the best feature of all is that this program is completely free! There are some premium versions that have a cost, although the free version seems to work just fine.
So far, I’ve been impressed with LastPass. The one complaint is that it took a while for me to figure out the program. Definitely watch the videos to understand how to use it.
I now feel like there is a way to fight back against hackers from emptying my bank account and stealing my identity. Give LastPass a try to see if it works for you.
Steve Doster is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional providing commission-free financial advice for do-it-yourself investors. You can reach Steve at Doster Financial Planning by phone 619-688-1192 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Steve on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or blog to get more personal finance advice and tips.
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