With a few simple tweaks Lastpass keeps you even more secure than you ever thought possible. Start with 2 factor authentication.

Lastpass: Tighten Your (2 Factor) Security Belt

Source: public domain

Did you know that Lastpass has some extra options to make your security even tighter?

If you’ve started using Lastpass to store all your passwords, then you are probably feeling slightly relieved and maybe even a little smug!

Using your one-stop master password, you’ve been surfing the web with a greater sense of peace, secure in the knowledge that it’s that bit more difficult for a hacker to get hold of your all-important details.

When I first started with the program, I was in this same happy state.

However, I then started reading articles about hackers using password dictionaries and the like, to get hold of our secrets.

I was confident that I had a very strong password, but felt it was worthwhile using all the defences I could muster.

In this post, we will talk about how adding a second option (or “factor”) to your existing password, can lock things down even more.

Lastpass Master Password

Last time, we looked at how to get up and running with Lastpass.

We installed the program and threw a few passwords at it.

We then saw how Lastpass could use them to login to our favourite websites – all automatically.

At the beginning of the installation process, we set up a master password and Lastpass helped us, by telling us just how strong it was.

Now, we’re going to improve what we have, by adding another layer to the login process.

Lastpass 2 Factor Authentication

Enter the X Factor, or rather what is termed 2 factor authentication (sometimes called “multi-factor”).

If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry, it’s actually very simple.

The idea is, that:

  • you add a another option that means you can only login to your Lastpass account, if you use both this and your password
  • the second factor could be anything, from a special code or PIN number, to a piece of hardware, such as your smartphone

And that’s exactly what the creators of Lastpass have catered for.

They offer a lot of different options and they have added to the list, over time.

Some of them are free and others are for premium customers only.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will talk about the simplest: grid authentication, which is available on free accounts.

Lastpass Gets Back On The Grid

All you do is activate it in the Lastpass options and print off your special grid.

To set this up, go into the Lastpass account settings and find the Multifactor section.

Then select the pencil icon next to the Grid option and set Enabled to “Yes”.

When you do this, Lastpass will prompt you to print your grid – do so and you’ll get something like this:

Source: Lastpass, fair use

Once activated, Lastpass will ask for your password on your next login, but will also ask you for a set of 4 characters.

Just use the prompts to cross reference the X and Y coordinates on your grid, to get the characters and enter them into the dialog, before clicking Authenticate.

Source: Lastpass, fair use

Voila! You are logged into Lastpass and can use it as normal.

Lastpass Trusted Devices

The potential trouble when using 2 factor authentication, is that it can take just that little bit longer to login.

For the impatient among us (I’m including myself here), you can set things up so you don’t have to use the second factor, but anyone else does.

The next time you login using your second factor, you just tick the checkbox to tell Lastpass that your current desktop or phone is a “trusted device”.

From then on, you will only need your password, on this specific machine.

Anyone attempting to login from anywhere else, will still require the grid, which you have safely locked away.

Tip: if you share a Lastpass account with another family member, then they will also need the second factor on their PC/Mac user profile. You can always make their profile trusted as well, you’ll just have to go through the process twice – once for each profile.

Conclusion

Lastpass 2 factor authentication adds an extra layer to your protection and only takes a few moments to set up.

You can activate it, even on a free account, so there’s no reason to ignore the option.

Since you can also set up your home PC as a trusted device, you can avoid the extra hassle of using the second factor, but ensure that anyone else has to jump through those extra hoops.

Well, what are you waiting for?

You can find full instructions for activating the Grid here.

Question: What do you think of 2 factor authentication? Is it easy to use, or do you find it unwieldy?

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