Q: Your recent column on password management prompts me to ask for help.
I began using LastPass two or three years ago, created many entries in it and seemed to be doing fine. But something has gone wrong.
At the start, I created a master password and I thought I had a great mnemonic to help me remember it, but I have forgotten it. I’ve tried different variations of what I thought the master password was, and none work.
So now I enter LastPass account recovery and get shunted into an endless loop. I’m asked for my LastPass username or one-time password. I enter my username, am told LastPass can’t find a one-time password and that I should contact my LastPass administrator or LastPass support. Please help if you’re able.
— Brooke Rolston
A: First, the bad news. If you’ve tried LastPass’s procedures for recovering your account without success, I’m afraid there’s no way to do so.
The good news? That’s one of the big reasons LastPass is pretty secure. They don’t keep copies of passwords and, as a result, a hacker can’t get your passwords that way.
So what to do? You can have LastPass reset your account. Then you’ll assign a new password and, yes, you’ll have to redo all the passwords you stored in LastPass.
Now here’s the real potential snag: If, as recommended by LastPass, you have let the program generate unique strong passwords, getting back into the websites you’ve stored passwords for will be virtually impossible. So if that’s the case, you’ll need to reach out to each site for which you need to reset the password.
Here’s a key tip that applies to all password managers: If you haven’t already done so, when you reset your LastPass account, you’ll want to occasionally export your password vault to a file.
Then you’ll want to store that file somewhere secure, preferably not on your computer where a hacker might be able to access it.
Another strategy that LastPass offers, if you’re interested in paying for the family version of LastPass, is that you can grant access to your vault to other trusted people. They can only access your vault if you don’t block them within a user-set amount of time.
A note on WiFi boosters: Several times over the past several years I have installed a number of different WiFi boosters in hopes to extend the range of my WiFi network. On every occasion I was disappointed.
It has been a couple of years since the last time I tried. And this time…success!
In this particular installation, the internet service is coming through a cable modem that has a built-in WiFi router. I added a Netgear Orbi WiFi mesh router to extend the service to a studio in a separate building about 40 feet away from the main router. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to work.
Curiously, one of my computers delivered better performance on the cable modem’s WiFi router while the rest of my computer’s performed better when connected to the Netgear Orbi router. So I kept both WiFi routers working.
Some experts advise against this because you can encounter conflicts. My advice? Try it and see. You can always reconfigure to have the routers use different channels.
The long and the short of it? While I used to advise family and friends against wasting money on WiFi extenders, the technology has advanced to the point where you really can extend your WiFi network to far-away rooms or outlying buildings. OK, maybe not if the distance is too great or the walls have metal in them…but it’s a lot more feasible now.
By the way, while I’m very happy with the Netgear Orbi I bought, I haven’t done a comparative review so I’m not pitching the product. Other products on the market are likely equally up to the task.