The Intermediate Guide To Mastering Passwords With LastPass

The Intermediate Guide To Mastering Passwords With LastPass

LastPass is easy, secure and works across systems and browsers — it’s our favourite password solution. Here’s how to take LastPass further: force saving on uncooperative sites, manage notifications, “rate” your passwords, use two-factor authentication and more.

If LastPass is intriguing, but you’ve not quite made the jump, consider our previous feature on why it works so darned well. Founding editor Gina Trapani also considers LastPass as the sweet spot between convenient and security, as detailed in this embedded entry from her Work Smart video series:

Once you’ve picked up the basics of importing and storing passwords, Secure Notes, and setting up your browsers with LastPass instead of insecure password storage, you can get more out of LastPass by exploring its features around the edges. Here’s a few of our favourites:

Manage Your Notifications

To get less browser chatter, click the LastPass icon on your browser taskbar, or get to its settings from your add-on/extension menu. In the preferences list, choose Notifications and uncheck those things having to do with “Form Fill” and “Generate Secure Passwords”. You can also get rid of the browser-spanning “Bar” notifications if you’d like, because your LastPass icon will still spin and change colours when it wants your attention — to save or change passwords, bad LastPass logins and the like.

Take the LastPass Security Challenge to Fix Your Weak Passwords

Sign into LastPass through your browser add-on or on the site itself, then head to the Security Challenge site. You can also access this site through your extension’s Tools menu. Hit the “Start the Challenge” button, and LastPass will analyse all the passwords you’ve tucked away, then provide both aggregate data on your entries (average length and strength, numbers of duplicates, etc) and show you each password for each site, and how it rates.

Force LastPass to Remember Stubborn Sites

If you’ve got a site that won’t take input, go ahead and type in your user/password combo, but don’t hit the login button. Instead, click your LastPass browser icon, then choose “Save All Entered Data”. You’ll get a kind of behind-the-scenes look at how LastPass views the page. Scroll down, and you’ll see the text you entered next to the named field. Hit “Save” in the lower-right corner, and the next time you head to the site, LastPass should be able to save you the trouble of logging in. Be sure to check as well in the Advanced section of your browser add-on preferences — you’ll see an option there that lets you ignore or respect sites that use the basic autocomplete=off code on their sites to discourage tools like LastPass.

Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

The default keyboard shortcut that everybody should know is the login changer. If you’ve got multiple accounts at, say,, LastPass can remember them all. To change between them at the login screen, hold Alt (or Command on Macs) and press Page Up or Page Down on your keyboard. The other shortcuts for saving, generating and entering passwords are up to you to fill in, depending on what you feel works. I find that holding Alt as a general LastPass modifier tends to work best and interfere with the fewest shortcuts.

Require Two-Factor USB Authentication

If you’ve got some really sensitive stuff stashed in LastPass, or you’re heading somewhere without real guarantees of security (like, say, internet cafes in Thailand), you can upgrade to a LastPass Premium account (about $US1 per month) and start using LastPass Sesame. It’s a thumb drive application that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it changes your LastPass account so that it requires generating a one-time password from the USB drive before unlocking any passwords. In other words, even if someone gets your root LastPass password, it won’t do them any good without access to the thumb drive you’re likely carrying with you.

Install the Binary Version for Extra Cross-Browser Features

binary version

What’s your favourite LastPass feature that doesn’t get much attention? What do you wish LastPass offered that might make you switch? Let’s hear your picks in the comments.

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