When you log into certain websites (like your bank's) your browser may ask, "Would you like to save this password?"
Most of us click Yes. If the browser saves our passwords so we don't have to keep re-entering them, why not?
Hold on. The best place to store your password isn't in a browser...it's in a password vault. These are third-party apps which do the same thing—save your password & re-enter it whenever you go to the same website—but they store those
passwords on a secure database. This database may exist on your computer, or in the cloud.
Either way, the password's not stored in the browser.
What's the difference? The security surrounding those passwords.
Most browsers like Chrome incorporate some protection for passwords. However, it’s nowhere as secure as a separate app. If someone gains access to your computer (via hacking/ransomware), they can steal those passwords right out of the browser.
Password vaults replace the "save password" function in the browser. You see the same result – go to a website, click a login form, and the password appears.
How does that work? Like this:
- The browser has to ask the vault for the password.
- The vault unlocks that one password, and hands it over
- The vault re-locks while you use the saved password.
With passwords stored on a cloud server in a password vault, high-grade encryption protects them. Even if a cybercriminal steals files off your device, they don't get any passwords with the files.
Several password vault apps exist, free and paid. Here are four of the best for personal and business use:
Do you have a cybersecurity question you want answered? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may show up in our next "Cyber Fu Tip."