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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013

Protect Your Passwords For Free



By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Recently on the show, I talked about the problems with crooks tapping into financial websites and stealing your money. Most of us use simple, easy to crack passwords that don't help the situation. The problem is that we can't remember those goofy passwords with numbers, letters and symbols that we know we should be using for optimal protection!

DashLane.com is the latest site to be talked about by David Pogue of the New York Times. It's a freemium service that is free for basic capabilities or $20 annually if you want to upgrade for more bells and whistles. The basic way DashLane works is by generating a new master password for you everyday so all your accounts stay locked down. The service also offers the ability to act as an automatic form filler.

Some time ago, I talked about how the Commerce Department was working on a possible biometrics system for a better layer of Internet security. Well, a techie stopped me on the street after he heard me on the radio, and he hit me with so much info that went over my head that I can't even repeat it. But the one thing he told me that I did retain was about a free alternative that's already out there called LastPass.com.

LastPass allows you to store complicated multiple passwords for websites and have one point of access, so you only have 1 password to remember. It's actually a freemium site, which means it offers both a basic, free version and an optional pay version with more bells and whistles.

They even have a system in place where if they get hacked, your information is still safe…not that I understand how they do it! But it is an alternative that gives you that security, especially if you visit a lot of financial websites to track your money.

Remember, with brokerage and mutual fund accounts, the law is silent on any protections for you if you're hit by hacker. It's up to the individual company's corporate policy to determine if they give you your money back or not.

And if you're a business owner, you may be subject to a loss of funds in an online account breach, even if it's not your fault. Using a site like LastPass can show you took "due care" under the Uniform Commercial Code and possibly afford you some additional protections.