Unfortunately life isn't like the TV Show "24". In real life we have to eat, sleep, "bio-recycle", deal with traffic and...remember passwords to get to our email and banking and other sensitive sites on the Internet. We don't have a Chloe to call and demand fast action because we "don't have a lot of time". I can dream, but until then, at least we have LastPass to help out with the passwords and on-line form filling.
LastPass is certainly not the first password storage system, but it's price and feature set make it revolutionary. Yes, I pulled out revolutionary which is an overstatement sure, but it got your attention.
Let's start here because it's easy. Zero dollars and zero cents make this a FREE service. Of course there are "premium features", but more on that later. Seriously, black ops agents like Jack Bauer can't keep going to Congress for more money now can they?
The basis of the program is that it is run from your computer and your computer is where it is encrypted. This is the CTU Headquarters and it's on lock-down people. To facilitate all of this security goodness, you need to install it on to your machine. Don't worry if you are a PC or a Mac because either way, you're covered. Heck if you've got Linux you can still jump on the LastPass bandwagon. There are automatic buttons put in Internet Explorer and Firefox. The Google Chrome and Safari browsers are being worked on but you can still do basic tasks by manually installing some buttons.
Your missions in life are likely to draw you from the comforts of your HQ. LastPass will go with you. They have a mobile friendly website where you can retrieve your encrypted data. In the premium package you can also have installed application on Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android and iPhone.
MORE THAN A PASSWORD LOCKER
As if securely storing your passwords wasn't good enough, this free package offers up some other mission critical functionality. Behold:
Form Filler - for love of all that is holy stop retyping your name and address and other information that can be automatically inserted for you.
Store Secure Notes - these are like little sticky notes that no one can read but you. You know, that little "happy ending" massage place? You don't want your girlfriend finding out about that so...uh...put the number in a secure note.
Data Ownership - you can export your stuff and it's all backed for you should you need to reinstall your operating system or buy a new computer.
Generate Secure Passwords - Since you now won't have to remember the friggin things, you can have your "director of security" (aka LastPass) generate one of those super hard to crack passwords for the on-line dating site that your roommate once accessed and uploaded some embarrassing pictures that ruined your VIRTUAL dating life too. TMI?
Sometimes you need a lil extra ammo to complete your mission. Sometimes you wanna show off and flash that premium status. Either way, if you drop the cash LastPass will hook you up VIP. What do you get? Glad you asked:
No ads - nuf said
Access to all of those mobile phone applications
Priority Support - They DO have a Chloe! Sweet,
USB Drive Installation - take the full experience with you
All of this premium-osity will cost you a measly $12/year...yes, I said it; $1 a month.
I am happy with the free version for now and I'm starting to put my "stuff" in there. Now that I've solved my password and form fillin and secure note storin needs, I have to end my Jack Bauer impersonation and eat something, use the facilities and (gasp) get some sleep.
Next time on...OK, I'll stop. Here is an instructional video of LastPass...