If you are still in the camp where you do not use LastPass (or any password manager for that matter), and simply write your passwords in a notebook, keep a spreadsheet of your passwords, or <gasp> if you tape your passwords to your computer monitor on a slip of paper!!! LISTEN UP.
YOUR PASSWORDS ARE NOT SECURE!
AND, no doubt if you are writing your passwords down to keep them handy, you are using easy-to-remember passwords that are also making your private data easy-to-steal.
Passwords such as: password, Ilovemydog, or 123456789.
Earlier this year, I received a phishing email intended to frighten me into:
- Believing that the sender had access to my online accounts
- Paying the bitcoin ransom for them to just “look the other way and stop bothering me”
- Buying into the idea that they would send the pornography that I had supposedly been watching to all of my friends
None of that was true.
Phishing: An email or message claiming to be from a reputable source intended to dupe individuals into revealing their personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.
You may have received a similar email. Take a deep breath and keep on reading to find out what to do.
The kicker, and to make the email seem legit, the sender listed an actual password of mine.
My husband reassured me that the sender did not actually have access to any of our accounts. BUT, it inspired both of us to get our whole family’s digital life in order.
Want to know more travel tips and advice to boost your travel confidence? Sign up for my online course SUPER EASY TRAVEL PLANNING.
Use LastPass to Store Passwords
Chris researched the best company for us to use and landed on LastPass to help us store and manage our sensitive data.
From there, we spent hours—yes, HOURS—going through all of our passwords and updating them from easy-to-remember passwords to 12-20 digit secure passwords that included upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and specials characters.
I highly recommend that you do this as well.
Turns out, we had been more lax in our password management than we thought, using the same password over and over for many logins simply because it was easy to remember and convenient to use.
LastPass monitors the Dark Web for any activity or appearance of your data and alerts you to any data breaches.
Dark Web: a hidden collection of internet sites that can be accessed only through a specialized web browser. The intent is to keep internet activity private and anonymous—helpful in both legal and illegal applications.
Our list of data breaches was significant for all members of our family. We set up all of our girls on LastPass with the Family Plan and asked them to update their passwords.
The drawback? Your passwords will not be easy to remember at all!
The bonus? LastPass automatically fills in your secure info for the passwords you have saved on your computer and devices. This is where the benefits of the Premium plan and the Family plan really shine.
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What is LastPass?
LastPass is a SECURE password manager and vault app that keeps your personal or family’s vital information secure and makes your digital life easily accessible at the touch of your fingertips.
The first question you are likely to ask: Is Using LastPass safe and secure?
“LastPass uses military-grade encryption (256-bit AES), has a zero-knowledge policy, and provides multiple two-factor authentication options (2FA) as well as biometric logins.”Safetydetectives.com
How to Get Started
To create your LastPass account, begin by adding your email address.
Create a Master Password (which YOU WILL NEED to remember) for your LastPass login. You need to make it strong but something you won’t forget. LastPass adds layers of security and encryption to keep your data safe, but you need to make sure you password is long, strong, and unique!
LastPass offers these “best practice” recommendations when creating your Master Password:
- Use a minimum of 12 characters, but the lengthier the better
- Use upper case, lower case, numeric, and special character values
- Make it pronounceable and memorable, but not easily guessed (e.g., a passphrase)
- Make sure that it is unique only to you
- Never use personal information
- A good example is: Fidoate!my2woolsoxn (LastPass)
Set up a password hint or clue.
As you can see from the login form, this is an optional step but one that is highly recommended.
If you should ever forget your Master Password, LastPass will send you this hint via email to help prompt you memory. Do not provide a clue that is the same as your Master Password!
Please be aware that the Support Team at LastPass DOES NOT know YOUR Master Password nor any of your stored passwords. They are unable to reset or change a user’s Master Password if it is forgotten.
You have options when you choose to use LastPass. LastPass offers a Free option, an upgraded Premium option, and a Family plan.
The Free Option
With the Free Option, you have the benefit of unlimited passwords when you use LastPass, access on one device (you can choose your desktop, laptop, or mobile device), secure sharing of passwords with a trusted family member or friend, passwords that autosave and autofill, a password generator, notes that are secure, a second layer of authentication, basic support, and the LastPass Authenticator
The Premium Option
Cost: $3 per month billed annually ($36)
Upgrade to the Premium Option for additional security features that include access on all of your devices (desktop, tablet, phone), secure sharing with more than one person, encrypted file storage (1 GB) for critical documents (passports, ID, Trusted Traveler numbers), monitoring the dark web, set up emergency access for a trusted individual, premium tech support, and a security command center to monitor weak or overused passwords when you use LastPass.
The Family Option
Cost: $4 per month billed anly ($48)
Choose the Family Option when you use LastPass with up to 6 Premium licenses.
The Family option includes all of the features in the FREE and PREMIUM plans plus being able to group and share passwords and critical documents into folders as well as being able to have a family dashboard.
Why use LastPass?
- Use LastPass to Simplify Online Shopping
- Use LastPass to Generate Strong Passwords
- Use LastPass as a Family Plan to Share Effortlessly
- Use LastPass for Peace of Mind
What is Two-Factor Authentication and Why Do I Need It?
Did you know that you are more likely to have your identity stolen than to have your home burglarized or your car taken? (ID Theft Resource Center)
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA as you may see it commonly abbreviated, adds an extra step to your basic login procedure to help your online digital data.
Normally (if you don’t have 2FA enabled for a site login), you enter in your username and then your password, and you are done. This could be called single factor authentication. Your password is your only factor of authentication.
Two factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account. It makes it more difficult for hackers to access your data. (Not impossible, just more difficult.)
What are the credentials often used to establish 2FA?
- A text message-based verification number, a code, or personal identification number (PIN) sent to your phone (you can also have them sent to your email)
- An authenticator app with codes that expire every 30 seconds
- Biometric signatures such as your face, a fingerprint, or your voice
Once you set up your two factor authentication, you will then sign in using two steps: 1) input your user name and password and 2) add specific credentials required for 2FA.
If you have unsecured data, you may or may not immediately know that your data has been accessed by criminals. The potential for your identity to be stolen exists until you correct the security lapse. For your peace of mind, use LastPass and get started today.
Use LastPass to Store Digital Records and Travel Documents
Once you have your passwords taken care of, your next step will be to store digital records and travel documents.
Digital Copies you may need for travel:
- Passport – note the expiration date
- Driver’s License
- International Driver’s Permit (if you have one)
- Travel Visa
- Global Entry Card or TSA Pre-Check
- Birth Certificate
- Health Insurance
- Travel Insurance
The easiest way to use LastPass is to create a digital copy of your passport and other important documents by taking a picture with your smart phone. Store your photos and data in notes and files within your LastPass Vault.
Final Thoughts on How to Use LastPass to Securely Store Travel Documents
It may take some time to get YOUR digital life in order when you use LastPass, but the peace of mind is totally worth it. Don’t pass this off by saying, “It won’t happen to me.” Be proactive and ensure that your data, passwords, and travel documents are secure.