Software

LastPass 4.0 Premium; LastPass 4.0 Premium

In the password manager field, as in other areas, juggling a free edition and a paid edition can be tough for software designers. Make the free edition too limited and nobody will use it. But give users too much goodness for free and you remove the incentive to pay. LastPass Premium is edging toward the latter. It’s still a powerful, feature-rich password manager, but so is the free edition.

For many years, LastPass Premium cost $1 per month, $12 per year. That price doubled this year, to $24 per year, so it now costs more than True Key and RoboForm, both of which run just under $20. Still, LastPass costs less than many competitors. You pay $29.99 per year for Keeper and Sticky Password, while Dashlane and LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Ultimate go for $10 more than that.

Many features that started out as premium-only have gradually migrated to the free edition. Emergency Access was originally reserved for premium users, and for a while your free LastPass subscription could only sync across one type of device, desktop, smartphone, or tablet. Now the free edition syncs across all your devices, and includes Emergency Access. In addition, Shared Folders, formerly a premium feature, moved into the new LastPass Family.

LastPass Family is worthy of note. For $48 per year, twice the price of LastPass Premium, you get six licenses, so your whole family can keep their passwords safe. And, as noted, LastPass Family includes the Shared Folders feature. I’ll review LastPass Family soon. Keeper has similar family pricing, at $59.99 per year for five licenses. In addition, Keeper’s family plan comes with 10GB of encrypted online storage, which normally costs an additional $9.99 per year.

Shared Features

As you’d expect, LastPass Premium gives you all the features of the free LastPass. Please read my review of that edition for full details. I’ll briefly summarize here.

You can install LastPass on all your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices and sync passwords and other data between them. Like Keeper, it even supports Linux and Windows Phone. It installs as a plug-in for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. LastPass recently got a user interface update and some enhanced features. However, this update hasn’t yet made it to Internet Explorer and Opera. In addition, the company is rolling out these enhancements gradually for existing users, so if you’re already using it, your experience may not match the version reviewed here.

You can import passwords from your browsers, or from 31 competing products, but the import list feels dated. There are only 10 serious, current competitors on the list. Four products on the list are defunct, including McAfee SafeKey, the precursor to True Key

SSH Key and Database, seem like odd choices. Others, like Wi-Fi Password, include data fields beyond the knowledge of the average user.

The new data types are specific to the updated interface. You can edit such items in Internet Explorer and Opera, but you can only create old-style Safe Notes.

Emergency Access lets you identify one or more LastPass users (free or premium) to receive your passwords in an emergency. When the recipient requests access, you get a notification and are free to revoke access during the waiting period. A similar feature lets you share saved credentials with other users.

Two-factor authentication ensures that nobody can open your password vault using just the master password. LastPass supports several authentication apps, including its own LastPass Authenticator. However, one of the listed apps no longer exists. For the rare person who doesn’t use a smartphone, LastPass offers an authentication technique that uses a wallet-sized paper grid.

The Security Challenge rates your overall password security and master password security, and shows your rank among all LastPass users. You can use it to identify weak and duplicate passwords, and update them with new, strong passwords. For about 80 popular sites, LastPass can automate the update process. The similar feature in Dashlane supports more than 500 sites. Keeper doesn’t attempt automated password change, as it would violate the company’s zero-knowledge policy, but it does let you update and save a new password with a single click once you’re at the password-change page.

Secure sharing, password inheritance, an actionable password strength report, and automated password changing are uncommon features in free products. The free LastPass has all four, and more. It’s an Editors’ Choice for free password managers, despite some quirks.

Multifactor Enhancements

As noted, the free edition supports multifactor authentication using free authentication apps, as well as a low-tech grid-based authentication system. With the premium edition, you can use a Yubikey for authentication. Insert the device into a USB port, touch its button, and it generates a one-time password automatically.

Note that this is not the Universal 2-Factor authentication promoted by the FIDO Alliance, though Yubikey does support U2F. U2F is important because it’s not limited to one supplier. More than 30 companies are producing U2F devices. Dashlane and Keeper are among the few password managers that currently support U2F.

You can associate up to five Yubikeys with your account. Once you’ve done so, when you log in, LastPass asks you to touch the YubiKey’s glowing button after entering your master password. Not every device has a USB port, so don’t disable your existing two-factor authentication app.

LastPass Premium Yubikey

If you’d rather not spend money on a Yubikey, you can convert any USB drive into an authenticator. Just install LastPass’s Sesame utility on it and you’re done. Plug it in to authenticate.

The Android and iOS editions of the free edition support authentication via fingerprint. With a premium account, you can use fingerprint authentication on a PC or Mac as well.

Secure Storage

The editing window for all the personal data types that LastPass stores has an Add Attachment button. Premium users can add up to 1GB of attachments. Like passwords and other data, your attachments reside in the cloud in encrypted form, and you can access them from any of your devices. This feature is present in the free edition as well, but it is limited to 50MB of storage.

SecurityWatch

Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault

Sticky Password Premium

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