Storing Passwords in Browsers

Video Blog from DC the Computer Guy

storing passwordsRemembering all of your passwords is hard. You would think that storing passwords in your browser seems like a convenient solution. It isn’t. That very convenience is what makes it their greatest flaw – the passwords are too easily accessed by anyone who gets on your computer.

Having worked my way up in IT to now owning a managed services provider, I’ve experienced the struggle with passwords firsthand for a very long time. When browsers first started offering this feature, it seemed like the perfect solution because, in addition to remembering the passwords for me, they would auto-populate the fields.
What’s not to love?

As it turns out, quite a lot.

While working with a client who was recently hacked, we discovered that all of their browser stored passwords were exposed, which is why I thought it would be a great topic for my video blog. Click on the video below to watch.

Think about this for a moment, the average person has 80 to 100 passwords. Security experts tell us that every login should have a unique password, 12-16 characters long using mixed case letters, numbers, and symbols, and should never be written down anywhere. That means, that the average person is expected to remember 80 to 100 strong passwords, many of which will only be used occasionally.

Is it any wonder that people love the idea of storing their passwords in a browser?

Fortunately, there is a better option.

Don’t Make it Easy for the Hackers

Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari – they all allow you to save passwords, and they all have inherent weaknesses that cybercriminals can exploit. With 1 in 3 people in the United States being victims of cybercrime, using browsers to store your passwords puts them all in one vulnerable place, making them easy to steal when you get hacked.

Password Harvesting

Credential theft is on the rise. Cybercriminals are coming up with more ingenious ways of stealing user names and passwords because those have a high value on the dark web. The majority of business security breaches and personal identity theft occurs because of stolen credentials.  Once you recognize that cybercrime is all about monetizing stolen information, it becomes clear that everyone is a target.

There is Hope

With a Password Manager, it is possible to securely store all of your passwords and easily access them when needed, and all you have to do is remember one password. A password manager is just an application that allows you to store, generate, and manage passwords in a secure way. Most are encrypted cloud-based services that are available within your browser through an add-on. In addition, most of them can also be used on smartphones, so since we all keep our smartphones handy, we always have easy access to our passwords.

With phishing attacks on the rise and cybercriminals organizing specifically to steal credentials – CISA has identified Russian hackers sponsoring a specific Password Harvesting threatit is more important than ever to securely store your passwords and I strongly recommend using a password manager. Personally, my favorite password managers are Dashlane and LastPass, but there are many to choose from. If you want to do your own research, I suggest Googling “top password managers 2020” and you’ll find articles that offer pros and cons for the most popular and secure password managers available.

And if you want some assistance in setting up a password manager, fill out the form below or give us a call for more information.

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