Well, my wife’s Facebook account was hacked the other day. And then Wednesday, my account was hacked.
The attacker used the same password to hack into my Google Reader account (surely so he could read all the good theology I read). He tried to get into Google Wallet and buy a laptop online. (I have no recollection of having set up Google Wallet and so hadn’t bothered to use a strong password for Google.)
He failed. Thankfully, the good folks at Facebook and Google recognized the hacking attempt, closed the accounts, and immediately notified me. No harm …
But then I had to go through and find every Internet account I had ever created using the same password. And (I hate to confess) I used to always use the same password. I haven’t for years now, but there are all these old accounts.
A while back, I went through all the accounts that really matter — OneInJesus, Amazon, PayPal — and put in unique, strong passwords. But I never got around to accounts that don’t involve money or thousands of posts written by me.
Fortunately, I use a program called LastPass, which I highly recommend. Here’s how it works.
* It’s free.
* It searches your computer and finds all your old passwords, going back a surprisingly long time.
* It stores the passwords in a secure location in the cloud. It offers to permanently erase them from your hard drive (depends on who has access, I suppose).
* It generates random, strong passwords (number and letters, upper and lower case) on request and remembers where you used them.
* When you go to a site you need to login to, it automatically logs you in (if you want it to).
* If you need to know a password, it’s glad to tell you.
* If you use a computer that’s not yours, such as at a hotel business center, you can login and get your passwords with an Internet connection anywhere on the planet. Same thing for your iPhone.
* When you enter a new password, it remembers and stores it in the cloud.
As a result, I was able to go to every site that used the same password, login, and change the password in little time at all. It generated a new unique password for each site, and stored it in the cloud for me.
Now, the only password I know by heart is the LassPass password, and yet I have unique passwords for dozens of sites.
I’m a fan. It’s not perfect, but it works well.
And it’s free.