If you use LastPass to manage your passwords, as I do, I have bad news and good news.
The bad news, as may have heard, is that LastPass suffered a serious security breach in which some customer data was stolen. LastPass has not, as far as the tech press is concerned, handled this well (see this story in The Verge, for example).
The good news is that the stolen data was ENCRYPTED. That’s like stealing a bunch of locked safes; the hackers still have to open them. If you signed up for LastPass after 2018 or so, you were required to use a long password (at least 12 characters), which would, in theory, take thousands of years to decipher—unless you used a dumb password (re-used or too obvious, like your phone number).
What does this mean for users?
Despite the breach, it’s still a good idea to use a password manager, but you might want to switch to a different one (not as hard as it sounds–most of the competitiion lets you import your LastPass data directly). 1Password is probably the best paid option. Free options include Apple’s Keychain, and the built-in password managers in most browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge).
But–the LastPass data is still out there and potentially vulnerable. Changing your LastPass password now will NOT solve the problem; that horse has already left the barn. The safest course of action is to change the passwords on all your important accounts. I know that’s tedious and horrible, but better safe than sorry; and it’s not a bad idea to do it once a year anyway, because there may be breaches out there we DON’T know about–yet.
Watch Out for Swollen Batteries!
One sign that the lithium ion battery in your laptop and phone and tablet is starting to fail is swelling. I recently took a relative to trade in an iPhone we thought was in good shape, but when we removed the case, we saw this:
Failing ithium ion batteries can explode or catch fire, so please keep an eye out for any swelling! It’s rare, but it does happen.
Hope to have happier news in 2023!