1Password vs. LastPass
I am coming up on 6 months of being a “full time” Mac user. By “full time” I mean that a Mac is my primary computer during the work day and I use it around 80% of the time outside of work hours. (On a quick aside, I am working on a Windows 7 laptop now and I am becoming extremely fond of Microsoft’s newest offering.)
One of the things I like about OS X is the astounding number of quality applications that perform one task but perform that task in an sleek, easy to configure and easy to learn way. Some of my favorites are MailPlane, Things and 1Password. In my line of work 1Password had become indespensible.
For those of you not familiar with the app, 1Password manages all of your passwords and sensitive data for your online accounts, can keep track of all of your software serial numbers and lets you store post-it style secure notes. The interface is very slick and the data is kept in a virtual vault that you open with a master password. Once you have unlocked your vault, all of your usernames and passwords are automatically filled when you go to web pages that require login. Because username and password fields are auto-filled you can generate very long and complex passwords for your online accounts that you never have to remember. For example, I use a randomly generated, 16-character password for my Facebook account that consists of numbers, letters (upper and lower-case) and special characters yet I have no idea what it is. A password of that strength and complexity is going to be next to impossible to crack. There are only two downsides to the application — the fact that it is Mac ONLY and that comes with a $39.95 price tag. For a mixed OS user like me the Mac-only compatibility is a frustrating issue (but I’m happy to pay for a good product).
Over the past few months, buzz has been growing around a new password management application call LastPass so I thought I would check it out. The things that drew me to LastPass initially were the multiple-OS support and compatibility with Chrome, Firefox, Safari as well as Internet Explorer. The next attention getter was that it was completely free. I spent a little over an hour yesterday setting up and reading all of the details about LastPass and I think 1Password is going to have to take a graceful bow and exit stage right. This is why…
LastPass is free. LastPass does everything 1Password does. LastPass can be intergrated with every major browser. LastPass works on Windows, OS X and Linux. Your passwords are stored on their servers and locally in an encrypted “vault” and only your master password can be used to open the vault. Even if someone somehow stole your vault files from LastPass.com’s servers or took your laptop your data would be safe. Lastpass.com cannot read your vault file stored on their server. I repeat, Lastpass.com cannot read the passwords or usernames in your vault file. As more and more of our data is stored at 3rd party locations it is vital that the our personal privacy is respected and that even if their servers were breached our data would remain safe.
The average person selects passwords that are easy for them to remember and therefore are generally too short, easy to guess and insecure. By using an application like LastPass (or even 1Password if you prefer) you can increase your online security and privacy by an exponential amount. You just have to remember one password, it’s easy to install, it syncs across computers and all major browsers. What else could you want? Just do download it and start using it. You won’t regret it.