A Beginner’s guide to using LastPass password manager

LastPass is one of the most trusted and secure cross-platform password managers that work on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Mobile devices.

If you’re using Google Chrome’s or Firefox’s password managers to save your passwords, your passwords are not as safe as you think.

What is a password manager? I might have gone so fast without first defining it. A password manager is just an application that takes away the burden of having to create and remember all passwords for both your offline and online accounts.

The wide use of the internet makes Cyber Security and a big deal. Online accounts are being hacked each and every day.

One of the major causes of security breaches is the compromise of passwords. This ranges from unsafe storage to usage of weak passwords.

Password managers take on this whole task for you so you won’t have to use weak passwords or store your passwords in a Google doc.

You might have used the inbuilt browser password managers before, for example, Google Chrome or Firefox.

These browser password managers are not as safe as you think. Read here to discover the loopholes in them.

How to get started with LastPass password manager

LastPass works in all popular browsers including Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera mini on both mobile and computers.

LastPass has various pricing packages which include a free package that you can get started with before you upgrade for premium features.

You probably want to start testing out how LastPass works, so let’s dive in.

How to use LastPass on PC

LastPass can be configured in two ways on a PC.

  • Installing the individual LastPass browser extensions for each browser you have.
  • Installing an installer on PC that automatically adds the LastPass extension to all your browsers.

With the first option, just visit the LastPass download page, tap on the operating system you’re using and scroll down to the download section for your browser.

The first option requires a lot of hassle so, we shall use the second option because it’s the most reliable and easy.

Download LastPass installer on your PC

Visit the LastPass download page

Use the menu to navigate to your operating system.

If you’re using Windows like me, navigate to Windows and download the LastPass Universal Windows Installer

download page for LastPass

Install LastPass on your PC

  1. Double click on the downloaded file to start the installation.
  1. Click Yes on the confirmation prompt that says “Dou you want to allow this application to make changes to your device”
  1. The LastPass installation dialog selects all installed browsers by default.
  1. If you want to use it from all your browsers, select any that are not selected and click INSTALL
LastPass installation dialog
  1. If Microsoft Edge is one of the browsers selected for the installation, Microsoft Store will be opened to download LastPass for Microsoft Edge.
  1. In the Microsoft store, click on GET and wait for the download to complete.
doenloading LastPass from Microsoft store

Create a LastPass account

Your master password should be very strong and should follow a couple of measures as described here

Fill in all the required fields and create your account.

creating a LastPass account

Enable LastPass extension in Google Chrome

  • If Google Chrome is already open, open a new window with Ctrl + N
  • When a brown icon like the one in the screenshot below is displayed at the top right corner of the new window, click on it and open LastPass from the menu.
  • Click on Enable extension from the confirmation dialog
enabling LastPass extension in Chrome
  • If the brown icon is not shown, navigate to Chrome extensions and enable LastPass.
  • The LastPass icon is displayed in a dark color if you’re not logged in.
  • Click on the LastPass icon and provide your login credentials to log in.
loggin in LastPass

When login is successful, it will change color to red

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Enable LastPass extension in Microsoft edge

After installation of LastPass on your PC and the Edge extension from Microsoft store, open Microsoft Edge.

When the LastPass dialog is displayed in the top right corner of the browser, click on Turn it on.

Turning on LastPass in Microsoft Edge

If the dialog is not shown, open the browser menu using the three horizontal dots at the top right corner, click on Extensions and enable LastPass using the slider.

Tap on the LastPass icon in the extensions section and log in.

Logging in LastPass

Enable LastPass extension in Firefox

  1. Open Firefox after installation of LastPass
  1. When a brown icon like the one below is shown in the top right corner of the browser, click on it and click on LastPass
Enabling LastPass in Firefox
  1. Click on Enable in the displayed dialog.
Enabling LastPass in Firefox
  1. If the brown icon is not shown, navigate to Firefox add-ons and enable LastPass
  1. Next, click on the LastPass icon and Accept the permissions required.
Giving permissions to LastPass
  1. After accepting the permissions, tap on the LastPass icon once again and log in to your account.

Save passwords to LastPass

  1. Visit any site whose password you want to save for example https://twitter.com/
  1. If you’re logged in into the site, log out.
  1. Enter your credentials at the login page and proceed with the login process.
  1. When login is successful, a dialog that prompts you to save the password to LastPass will be displayed.
  1. Click on the Add to save the password
Saving password to LastPass

LastPass Security challenge

It’s not just about storing your passwords in a safe vault.

It’s about maintaining a high level of security among all your accounts.

LastPass provides a security challenge that checks for majorly the following:

  • Compromised passwords
  • Weak passwords
  • Reused passwords
  • Old passwords

Open the LastPass Security challenge with the following steps.

  1. Click on the LastPass icon in the extensions section.
  1. Open Account options from the menu
Opening LastPass Account Options
  1. Click on Security Challenge
Opening LastPass security challenge
  1. From the new tab opened, click on Show My Score and provide your master password to continue.
displaying LastPass security challenge

If your Security score is below 80%, then you need to look at the Improve your score section and see the problem.

Create new or change existing passwords

If you’re registering a new account on some site then you’ll need to use a strong password.

  1. To generate a strong password, click in the LastPass icon on the right of the password input field
  1. Click on the padlock icon at the top right corner of the window
Generating password with LastPass
  1. In the window with a generated password, click on SHOW OPTIONS
  1. Change the Password length to 20 (you change to any number above 20), Select All characters.
LastPass Password settings
  1. Finally, click on FILL PASSWORD
  1. Once you’re registered, a prompt will be displayed to confirm saving the password to LastPass
  1. Click Add on the prompt to save the password
saving password to LastPass

Store Payment Cards

If you have more than one payment card, it can be hard to remember all their details.

LastPass makes storing payment cards an easy task.

  1. Click on the LastPass icon in the extensions sections and click Open My Vault
Oopening LastPass vault
  1. From the Vaults left menu, click on Payment Cards
  1. There’s a round button with a plus symbol located at the bottom right corner. Tap on it
Saving payment cards in LastPass
  1. Provide the card details and then save your payment card

Set up multi-factor authentication

These days, a mere password is not enough to secure an account.

As for most of the applications, LastPass provides a multi-factor authentication feature that requires an additional requirement for authentication.

This means that even when your password is compromised, your account is still safe.

There are various authentication apps that you can you, for example, Google Authenticator which is used by most people and LastPass’s own Lastpass Authenticator.

Here’s how to use Google Authenticator as your authentication app:

  1. Click on the LastPass icon in the extensions section and Open My Vault
  1. From the vault left menu, click Account Settings
Opening LastPass account settings
  1. Navigate to Multifactor Options using the top bar.
  1. Under the listed options, click the edit icon on the left of Google Authenticator
  1. Change the Enabled value to Yes and Permit offline access value to Disallow
enabling multi-factor authentication with google authenticator
  1. You can proceed by either using a Barcode or a Private Key to authenticate with the app. Use the View label open either a barcode or private key
  1. Go to play store and download the Google Authenticator app
  1. The app signs in with the default phone Google account. If it’s your first time to use Google Authenticator, click on Begin
  1. Click scan a barcode or Enter a provided key.
  1. After scanning the barcode or entering the provided key, a code is generated in the Google Authenticator app. Click Ok in your browser to continue
  1. Tap on Update, confirm your master password and then enter the code generated in Google Authenticator
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How to use LastPass on Android

Install LastPass on Android

Visit the LastPass download page and install the application on your phone.

Click on the signup button to create a LastPass account or log in to an existing account

Enable Biometrics unlock

If your phone supports biometric authentication for example fingerprint or face ID lock then proceed with this step, otherwise, skip.

  1. Open the navigation menu with the hamburger icon at the top left corner.
opening LastPass menu
  1. Click on Settings at the bottom of the menu
  1. Open Security from the list
  1. Turn on the switch on the left of Unlock with biometrics. This will require you to verify either your fingerprint or Face ID depending on what your phone supports
enabling Biometrics unlock
  1. Also, enable Account recovery with biometrics on the same screen.

Next time, you can log in to the application by using biometric unlock

Enable AutoFill

AutoFill allows you to use your saved logins in any of the applications installed on the phone

  1. Tap on the hamburger to open the navigation menu and click on Settings
  1. Select AutoFill in the next screen
Enabling autofill
  1. Turn on the switch left of Autofill login credentials
Autofill settings
  1. When prompted for permissions, click next and turn on any permissions that are not turned on for LastPass

Use LastPass saved passwords

If Autofill is enabled as described in the previous section, when you open an application whose password was saved in LastPass, one of these will happen:

  1. Automatic LastPass pop up with the saved credentials that you can use.
  1. LastPass autofill notification displayed in the notification bar. To use this, slide down your notification bar and click on Autofill with LastPass. After which you can fill in the app login credentials
notification showing Autofill with LastPass

Saved credentials can also be used through the LastPass browser that you can access from the application menu.

If the LastPass Autofill feature does work, you’ll have to copy the password and username directly from the LastPass application with these steps:

  1. Open the LastPass application and provide your login details
  1. Tap on the hamburger icon at the top left corner of the screen
opening LastPass menu
  1. Click Passwords from the menu
  1. Locate and click on the site whose password you need
  1. Tap on Copy Password to copy the password or Copy Username to copy the username
copying password from LastPass
  1. To paste the copied information, long-press on the input field and then click PASTE

Add new credentials in LastPass

The easiest way to save a new login in LastPass is to use the LastPass browser. Do this with the following steps:

  1. Click the hamburger icon at the top left corner of the app home screen
  1. Tap on Browser
  1. Enter the address of the site whose password you want to save.
  1. Login into the site.
  1. After logging in a dialog prompting you to save the password will be displayed for you to confirm.
saving password to LastPass

To save credentials directly in the LastPass application:

  1. Tap on the round button with a plus symbol at the bottom right corner of the LastPass home screen
  1. Select the kind of credentials you want to store for example a Password.
  1. Provide a descriptive name than you can easily remember, include the URL of the site, username, password and any other fields

Generate a password

I recommend that you only generate passwords that you’re going to score in LastPass because generated passwords are nearly impossible to remember.

  1. Click on the hamburger menu icon at the top left corner of the app home screen
  1. Tap on Security in the menu
  1. Select Generate a password
Opening password Generation settings
  1. Use the Password Length slider to create a password not less than 20 characters.
  1. Copy the password by tapping on the Copy icon aligned left of it
generating password
  1. Paste the password where you want to use it

Edit existing passwords

Open the LastPass menu by tapping on the hamburger icon at the top left corner of the app home screen

Click Passwords

Locate and tap on the account whose credentials you want to change and then select Edit

Note: Some fundamental features are not discussed in “How to use LastPass on Android” because they can be understood by going through “How to use LastPass on PC”

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