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It seems like every day we hear another story of password breaches and warnings to create unique passwords for every account to keep your information secure.

But our brains have their limits, and memorizing unique passwords like hfs;d6i5f or 43@gjd7 for each of your 17 billion accounts is enough to make you bury your head in the sand of denial and keep truffle123 as your password for everything, despite your better judgement.

Having the same password for multiple accounts is especially dangerous if you are in charge of company accounts, because a breach could affect the company and, frankly, your job. Some folks manage this by writing down their passwords on paper or even [gasp] a sticky note attached to their computer monitor. Everyone knows it’s not smart, but they do it anyway.

Password management systems are the solution. My favorite is LastPass. LastPass saves your usernames and passwords in a secure “vault” accessible by one single master password.

It gets better. If you choose, LastPass will auto-generate a secure password for every account you have. Then when you visit the page the next time, LastPass will auto-fill your username and password on every page that requires one. So you never need to remember anything. It will also auto-fill forms and even store credit card information for frequent online shoppers. (This convenience may be dangerous for an entirely different reason. Haha.)

Some people worry about the security of “sharing” your password data with a service like LastPass. But with LastPass your data is actually stored locally and then encrypted so that no one (including LastPass employees) has access to your unencryted data besides you. Their privacy principles are clearly stated on their site. LastPass is also recommended by trusted sites like The Economist, PC World, Lifehacker and cnet.

LastPass works across all of your machines and mobile devices. I have it installed on my laptop (and I use their extension on Firefox which makes the entire process incredibly seamless), on my iPad and iPhone.

LastPass is free for a basic account, and $1/month if you want to install it on multiple devices.

photo credit: formalfallacy @ Dublin (Victor) via photo pin cc

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