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Is It Safe to Save Passwords on Your Computer?

Graham Cook  — February 25, 2019

Most of us have tried it or at least thought about giving it a go. We’re talking about storing your passwords in Chrome or another browser, instead of having to deal with remembering tons of different passwords for your online accounts.

There’s no denying that letting your browser save passwords for you is convenient. Heck, many of them will even fill passwords in for you automatically, which is a serious time and trouble saver.

But have you asked yourself if storing passwords in your browser is safe or what’s the difference when it comes to a password manager vs. browser password storage? If not, you should definitely keep reading to see how you could be putting your personal info at risk.

How Browser Password Storage Works

Most of the major Web browsers offer some type of password storage as a convenience to their users. But how exactly does storing your passwords in your browser of choice work? Let’s take a look at the most popular browser options, including Chrome password manager.

Chrome uses your Google account to save passwords. This might seem like a pretty secure option since you have to log into your Google account and follow several steps to be able to see your stored passwords. But the truth is that hackers love to target Google and Gmail accounts.

Firefox keeps your passwords stored in the “browser security” portion of your settings. This means that anyone that has access to any of your devices can also see (and use) all of your stored user credentials and passwords.

Safari uses a similar password storage process and is also highly susceptible to being hacked, even though most Apple devices are known to be super safe. You just might find that although your iPhone is more secure than an Android device, your passwords are still at risk.

Microsoft Edge takes things a step further than Safari or Firefox when it comes to password security. Your stored passwords are kept behind a wall of safety features, but they can still be easily accessed by anyone with a higher than average technical ability, which means hackers can quickly find their way past Microsoft Edge security measures.

Even though Google, Apple, and Microsoft have some excellent security features on their devices and in their Web browsers, if your account is compromised with any of them in some way, so are the passwords to all of your most important accounts.

Why You Shouldn’t Store Passwords on Your Computer

You’re probably starting to understand why storing passwords on your computer is a bad idea, but just in case you’re tempted to continue using browser password management, you might want to take a look at the info below.

These are the top 4 reasons why you shouldn’t store passwords in your Web browser:

1. Lost Devices: If you ever lose your laptop, cellphone, or tablet, anyone that picks it up could have access to your online passwords. And that means they can quickly and easily log into your bank accounts or any other website where you’ve used your browser for password storage.

2. Remote Hacking: Hackers have been known to use viruses and other malware to gain remote access to your computer via the Internet. If that ever happens to you, there’s a very good chance that the cybercriminal will head straight for your passwords to steal as much important data from you as possible.

3. Sneaky Snoopers: If you’re serious about your privacy and don’t want your personal info to be available to roommates, family members, or nosy visitors, leaving your device laying around should be avoided at all costs. This is especially true if you store your passwords online!

4. Forgotten Credentials: Although this isn’t a safety concern, if you use your browser to store your passwords, and you happen to lose access to that browser, you’ll have to deal with changing all of your login credentials to every website you regularly use. That does not sound like fun to us.

By now, you’ve come to realize just how bad of an idea storing your passwords on your browser truly is and you’re probably wondering if there is any other option. After all, you don’t want to have to remember all of those user IDs and passcodes, right?

Let’s take a look at how you can keep your online passwords safe and accessible…

How to Safely Store Passwords Online

One of your best options for safe and simple online password storage is a dedicated password management tool. We’re going to guide you through your questions about the difference between a password manager vs. browser password management and point you toward the best password managers.

Password managers are a great way to store passcodes on your computer without having to worry about your personal data being stolen and sold for profit. You can even find free password managers to help you stay secure online.

You should spend some time reading password manager reviews to help you decide which one is right for you. After you’ve found the perfect password management tool, you should go ahead and get rid of any saved passwords in your browser for added security.

Head over to your browser’s security settings and turn off password storage. You should also make sure that your password manager is set to use two-factor authentication whenever possible and choose a strong master password, while you’re at it.