What to do when LastPass goes down

The LastPass online password storage service went down today for several hours and many people were unable to access it. This in turn meant that they could not access websites and online services because the passwords were unavailable. It was a disaster. What can you do?

Thankfully the LastPass service was eventually restored, but what if it wasn't? What if it was only temporary, but you desperately needed to access a site or service, such as your online bank to pay a bill? It is possible that you could have been charged a late payment fee, all because LastPass went down.

It is worth remembering that when data is stored in just one location that it is vulnerable. One failure can be a disaster and this is why we have backups. Those people that back up their passwords and other login details were probably only slightly inconvenienced by the loss of the LastPass service.

Do you back up LastPass? How do you back it up? I will be using Chrome for this, but you can use any web browser and either click the toolbar button or go to the website and log in.

Click the toolbar button and LastPass displays a menu. Click the Tools option on the menu.

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Another menu is displayed and this time, click the Advanced Tools option.

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Down at the bottom of the next menu is the option we want, Export To. This will enable us to save our LastPass data.

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You need to log in, even if you are already logged in. This is just a security precaution, so enter your email and password again.

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Now the whole of your LastPass account is displayed as a comma separated file. Each site you log into is on one line, with a comma in between each username, password, URL and so on. (Of course, it's not usually blurred like this, I obviously don't want the whole world reading my passwords!)

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There are two things you can do with this and one is to go to the menu button and save the file to disk. The other is to click in the text, press Ctrl+A to select it all and then Ctrl+V to copy it to the clipboard.

You should not leave the file on the computer's disk drive where anyone could access it and it must be hidden. You could use a secure vault to store it in. You could use a freeware utility like Quick Crypt to encrypt it, or you could store it in a secure password database, such as Keepass. The data is encrypted.

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Just create a new item in Keepass, click in the Notes box and press Ctrl+V to paste in the LastPass info you copied. The format of the copied data, CSV, is ugly, but just about readable if you need to use it.

I prefer to actually create a new record in Keepass for each item I add to LastPass. It is a hassle, but when LastPass goes down, I can just look up passwords in Keepass. Since Keepass databases are encrypted, you can store them in the Dropbox folder, Google Drive folder or OneDrive folder on your PC. It will then be backed up online.


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