If you’re looking for a better way to store your passwords, you’ve probably thought about using a password manager. But you may have heard the advice that you shouldn’t store your passwords on the internet or in your browser if you’re really concerned with safety.
And you may have seen a recent ISE study that highlights flaws in five of the most popular password managers.
So, what’s the scoop?
Is it safe to use a password manager?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is… it depends on which one you use.
In this post, we’re going to cover all the security pros and cons of using a password manager to store your passwords.
Pros of using a password manager for security
When you use a password manager, you can easily create and store new and unique passwords for each account you access. And because you don’t have to remember each unique string, you can rely on the auto-generator to make your life easier and more secure.
Your passwords will get an instant security boost going from FIDO123 to something like: xdke7ef#esm321.
Additionally, most of the major password security companies are rather secure – even though they have flaws. To understand this, think about other ways you could store your passwords and compare their security level.
Physically writing passwords
Writing them down is a good way, but you can lose the paper and someone in your life will have all your passwords. And then you’ll have to change all your passwords at once, which is a bit of a nightmare.
Another way you could get around using a password manager is to repeat the same password over multiple accounts. And this is dangerous because if someone gets ahold of one password, they can gain access to multiple accounts, leaving you very exposed.
Using social sign-ins
You can sometimes get around creating new passwords for accounts that allow social sign-ins, but this isn’t recommended – not if you’re concerned with security.
When you use a social sign-in, like with your Facebook or Google account, the third-party site may be able to access more information about you than you’d feel comfortable with. And that means that if the site gets hacked, hackers also have that information.
Storing passwords on your browser
If you store passwords on your browser, someone who can hack into that account can access virtually everything in your life. Also, if someone remotely (or even physically) gains access to your computer, they’ll find it very easy to access all your sensitive accounts.
Although password managers aren’t a perfect solution, they are about the best option we have today for storing passwords.
Cons of using a password manager for security
With a password manager, all your passwords are stored in one place. And even though that place happens to be more secure than others, it can leave you vulnerable if someone is able to access your password manager account.
One of the vulnerabilities of a password manager leaves a small window open for personal attacks. But since hackers tend to work on larger scales, it’s not as likely that they would waste their time going after one person. The payoff simply isn’t worthwhile.
There are no perfect solutions that will give you a 100 percent guarantee of security, but password managers are the best we’ve got today.
Still, not all are created equal. So be sure to research the best password managers before you make any decisions. Some are more secure than others, and the security level can sometimes change based on the version.