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It’s been about a month since LastPass—one of the most well-known and popular password managers out there—suffered a security breach where attackers managed to worm their way into the systems where LastPass stored its source code. Let’s review the situation, and what your response should be.
First, let’s go over what we know.
According to the password manager’s report, no customer or employee data was successfully accessed, with those responsible instead only gaining access to the password manager’s proprietary source code. We say “only” because many pieces of proprietary software these days use many, many open source components, all of which need to be documented even if some modifications were made.
So, while LastPass’ source code could be helpful to a prospective attacker, it isn’t going to be their magic bullet to get in.
This is also why open-source projects—where source code is openly shared so it can be examined and improved upon—are able to exist. Many of these open source projects have received security updates for vulnerabilities that went unnoticed, despite all eyes having access to the code.
To explain this, let’s pretend that your password manager is like a giant bank. You go to the bank and deposit your money—your passwords and other credentials—into their vault for safekeeping.
The fear is that, should someone manage to break into the bank and access the vault, all of your money is there for the taking. This would be the case if your password manager was just storing the passwords you provided on their own servers. However, that isn’t how a reputable password manager functions.
To return to our bank analogy, the vault is really only filled with safety deposit boxes that are brought to you when you need to access them. You have your master key (the password to the vault) along with another, secondary form of identity authentication to provide that is generated on the spot, and required to access your safety deposit box.
Notice that the bank doesn’t have the key to your vault, meaning that they actually can’t allow someone else to access your safety deposit box, whether that someone is a criminal or a member of law enforcement.
This is how a password manager works: rather than storing your passwords, encrypted versions of your passwords are stored—and, with you being the only one with the password to your other passwords, the password manager can’t decrypt them on its own.
…and for a few reasons, too.
…but it also isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Decatur Computers Inc. is here to help you make sure that your security is as established as possible, protecting you from issues, threats, and attacks—including through the use of a reliable password manager. Give us a call at 217-475-0226 to find out what we offer to businesses.
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