When do you want to start protecting your privacy?

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First published on LinkedIn

Privacy is important for many reasons and the primary one is to keep your sensitive information away from prying eyes. Even with the myriad of press reports detailing yet another breach of privacy, we still have not learned our lesson! Are you one of those lazy computer users that have dozens or even hundreds of web-site accounts and use the same ‘easy to remember’ password(s)? Let me guess… you find it too hard to remember one for each account? Fear not, help is at hand.

Sure, it’s all too easy to recommend using randomly generated passwords. But the end result is that you write them down, leaving ‘post-it’ notes all over the place. Because individually these scrambled together characters are hard to remember. I have been using a password manager for many years, to help me generate (and secure) my passwords in one convenient place. There are other password managers available, for example- 1Password, KeePass (open source) and LastPass. At Foresight Cyber, we selected and standardised on 1Password over 2 years ago and the whole company enjoys great benefits from this awesome software. One of the best benefits is that 1Password provides a Family account for each licenced business user. This promotes the usage of a password manager for personal use and drives a security-conscious culture into the family environment. Sadly, I did not take advantage of this feature when offered.

Instead, for my private passwords, I had chosen LastPass because user feedback for their free tier service had been really good. Until I needed to get help from LastPass customer support - when I tried to reverse my LastPass account and I lost all my passwords, accumulated over the period of 1 year - what a nightmare!! I created a ticket at the LastPass support portal but did not receive any response, so I tried to reach them via Twitter – without any luck. I then tried Facebook and Instagram: again, no help at all. After a month they answered me, maybe prompted by my comments on every post across all of their social sites or perhaps due to their relaxed SLA 😊. Interestingly, they asked me what version of Android I was using. I provided them with all necessary information and told them that I had tested it on almost all platforms without success. Their answer was that they would send my support ticket to a Tier 2 team and that was the last time I heard from them, so sadly no happy ending. I still have hopes they’ll come back to me in the future but until then I am painstakingly recovering all my passwords manually, one by one. And believe me about the process being painful: most of my passwords are truly random, complex and over 40 characters.

UPDATE: A week after I finished writing this article, things started to move forward - it looked like they knew their support wasn’t great and they wanted to fix it. Our email conversations were daily and at the end, we were able to recover almost all my passwords. What a relief 😊

I am glad that Foresight Cyber are using a business version of 1Password. The whole team has been really satisfied with it, as well as their customer support which has always been available when needed.

So what lessons did I learn? A password manager is so important, it will increase your privacy and help manage your passwords, but next time when you look for a new password manager, test their service support first. As the saying goes,

“Buy cheap, pay twice”…

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