LastPass 4.0 gives others access to your password vault in emergencies

The updated LastPass 4.0 contains a wealth of new features designed to lure more users to the fold.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Password locker platform LastPass has revamped its latest offering with a focus on improving the user experience.

Announced on Tuesday, LastPass said LastPass 4.0 has been developed with general users in mind, as well as an interesting new feature which gives access to vaults to trusted contacts in case of emergency.

Passwords on their own are a poor way to secure online accounts. Brute-force hacking, phishing campaigns and social engineering are just some of the ways these credentials can be stolen, leading to hijacked accounts and information theft.

While two-step verification -- such as linking your online account to your mobile device -- adds an additional layer of security, passwords are still very much in use, and many of us rely on easy-to-remember combinations to keep our accounts 'secure.'

However, password vaults are becoming a popular way to manage our accounts while at the same time using complex passwords which are difficult to break.

Password vaults such as LastPass are used not only to keep difficult-to-remember passwords stored in one place -- with only one individual password required to access the system -- but can also come in useful when there is a need to share login information -- such as when partners need to pay the bills, or as a way for parents to keep an eye on their children's online activity.

The Fairfax, Virginia-based firm says the latest edition of its password vault is more geared towards users and now functions with a cleaner, more user-friendly layout.

The password vault, browser extension menus and Web vault have all been revamped to make navigation simpler and workflows have been streamlined with different viewing options.

However, the most interesting new feature included in version 4 is Emergency Access, which allows users to designate trusted people -- such as family or friends -- and grant them access to their password vault in cases of emergency.

To prevent continual access, LastPass users can choose to create a waiting period between when Emergency Access contact can request access to the vault and when access is granted.

During the waiting period, users can also refuse Emergency Access requests.

"As today's digital consumers are tasked with a growing number of online accounts and passwords, the negative consequences of unsafe password behaviors grow too, from how we create and remember passwords to how we share accounts with colleagues and family," said Joe Siegrist, CEO and co-founder of LastPass.

"With LastPass 4.0, we set out to design an intuitive password management experience that could help both first-time users and long-time LastPass customers -- personal accounts, teams and entire businesses -- to more effortlessly follow and embrace password best practices while maintaining a secure digital identity."

The latest version of LastPass is now available to new and existing users.

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