Pro­tect On­line Ac­counts

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - PROTECT YOUR PC -

One of the big­gest con­tra­dic­tions with pass­words is that they need to be unique, strong and hard to crack, yet some­how easy to re­mem­ber. Thank­fully, pass­word man­agers are built specif­i­cally to aid with this process – you set up a vault con­tain­ing all your pass­words, then un­lock it with one mas­ter pass­word, mean­ing that you only need to re­mem­ber that one to ef­fec­tively gain ac­cess to all the rest.

Our favourite pass­word man­ager is LastPass. We rec­om­mend the Pre­mium ver­sion, which syncs across all your de­vices (mo­bile and desk­top) and of­fers two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion as well, which means that even if some­one hacks your pass­word, they still can’t get at your vault. LastPass is in­stalled as a browser add-on or stand­alone app, and of­fers to save pass­words as you en­ter them for the first time. It can also gen­er­ate strong, ran­domly gen­er­ated pass­words for sites, and thanks to its Se­cu­rity Chal­lenge fea­ture can then alert you to weak and du­pli­cate pass­words that need chang­ing, as well as high­light sites that have been the vic­tim of at­tacks. In some cases, it can even au­to­mat­i­cally change th­ese pass­words for you with a sin­gle click – though gen­er­ally you need to change them man­u­ally.

But LastPass it­self was hacked, we hear you cry. Th­ese days, it seems ma­jor web­sites will at some point be sub­ject to at­tack. The ques­tion is, how ro­bust are the site’s de­fences? In the case of LastPass, it did give up user email ad­dresses, but noth­ing else was lost – LastPass has no ac­cess to your mas­ter pass­word any­way, while the en­crypted vaults were left un­touched. LastPass then im­me­di­ately en­abled email ver­i­fi­ca­tion, which meant any hacker log­ging on from an un­known lo­ca­tion who guessed your pass­word would still be blocked, while you would have re­ceived an email no­ti­fi­ca­tion, giv­ing you time to change your pass­word.

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