Are Browser Password Managers Safe?

Are Browser Password Managers Safe?

Using your browser’s password manager to save the passwords for all your accounts can be tempting. Although it seems like it’s going to be the most seamless experience, it’s actually not. Browser password managers are not safe because they are not encrypted and they can be easily compromised – leading to your passwords also being compromised and more. Read on to learn why browser password managers are not safe to utilize. 

What is a Browser Password Manager?

A browser password manager is the built-in password manager on your browser of choice. They allow you to save the logins for the accounts you use when on the browser and automatically autofill them when you have your credentials saved for the website. There are several browsers that have built-in password managers such as Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari and more. 

Many people use the password manager on their browsers because it’s convenient and easy to use, but many people don’t know that the convenience can also come with security risks. 

Password Manager vs. Browser Password Manager

There are various differences and similarities between a standalone password manager and a browser-based password manager, here are a few.  

Security

Encryption only works if the associated encryption keys are secure. While browser password managers store passwords in encrypted databases, they store the associated encryption keys unprotected, in predictable locations. This is comparable to locking up your house tight, but leaving the key under the doormat – the first place an intruder will look.

Storage

Password managers allow you to save more than just your passwords, whereas browser password managers don’t. With a password manager, you can save files, pictures, social security numbers and more in a secure cloud-based vault. A browser password manager only gives you the ability to save your passwords and nothing more.

Sharing abilities

Browser password managers do not give you the ability to safely share credentials with others, whereas password managers such as Keeper do. Whether you want to share credentials for a limited time with Keeper’s One-Time Share feature or share credentials indefinitely, Keeper gives you the ability to share them in a secure way with friends, family or coworkers. 

Generating passwords

Both password managers and browser-based password managers aid in generating unique, strong passwords for your accounts. Although, if you were to create your own password for your accounts, a browser password manager cannot determine whether your passwords need strengthening, whereas a password manager can.  

A password manager will require you to have a minimum of 8 characters, plus have the option to include symbols and numbers to increase your password complexity, making them much more difficult for cybercriminals to crack. Browser password managers won’t require you to take these precautionary steps when creating your passwords – meaning your passwords are more vulnerable. 

Accessibility

When it comes to being able to access your credentials, browsers do not allow you the ability to access your passwords from other browsers. This means if you use multiple browsers, you’ll have to save your passwords separately on each different browser. This can become a tedious and inconvenient task. 

On the contrary, with a cloud-based password manager, you’ll be able to access your credentials from anywhere on any device. It does not matter what browser or device you use, you’ll always have access to your credentials and private data whenever you need it.

Why Browser Password Managers Are Not Safe

If your browser becomes compromised, so do your passwords

When you use a browser to save all your passwords, cybercriminals may not even require your device to access your stored credentials. Cybercriminals can easily breach or infect your device with spyware and just like that they’ll have access to your browser settings – meaning they’ll be able to view all of your saved passwords in plain text. Users should be aware of this significant security concern before electing to allow their browser to save their passwords. 

Browsers frequently remain logged in

If you currently use or have used browsers to save your passwords, you may have noticed that you don’t frequently need to log back into your browser. Although this can seem as being convenient, it also poses a major security concern. If your device were to get stolen, the cybercriminal would be able to retrieve all of your saved passwords if you are signed into your browser, which most people are. 

Browsers aren’t made to be password managers

Keep in mind that web browsers are designed to enable users to access websites – not to safeguard users’ personal information. That’s an important distinction because it means that browsers aren’t designed with the security and productivity features that password managers like Keeper have.

For example, dedicated password managers will check for weak or reused passwords and prompt you to change them; web browsers don’t. Password managers also autofill passwords on mobile, desktop apps and web browsers; browser password managers only autofill passwords when bringing up websites within that browser. Password managers can store multi-factor authentication (MFA) codes along with your passwords; browser password managers lack this capability.

Additionally, password managers like Keeper offer dark web monitoring tools such as  BreachWatch, which monitors the dark web for passwords compromised in public data breaches and alerts you if any of your credentials are found – enabling you to change that password right away.

Make The Switch to a Secure Password Manager

Switching to a cloud-based password manager will ensure that your passwords and personal data stay secure at all times. You’ll also be able to access your data from anywhere on any device – simplifying the process of logging into your accounts from wherever you may be. 

Keeper is a cloud-based password management solution with zero-trust and zero-knowledge encryption. Using Keeper as a password manager allows you to save more than just your passwords. You can save and secure all your important documents and data in your vault. You’ll never have to worry about not having access to your data. With your master password, you’ll be able to access everything important to you in just a matter of seconds. 

Don’t let the convenience of browser password manager put your accounts at risk, learn how to disable your browser’s password manager

Aranza Trevino

Aranza Trevino is a contributing writer and works in the marketing department at Keeper Security. She is an experienced cybersecurity trend and data analyst who continues to gain industry knowledge to educate readers through her blog efforts. Aranza’s blogs aim to help the public and businesses better understand the importance of password management, password security and staying protected against cyberthreats. Aranza studies at DePaul University in Chicago and majors in marketing with a concentration in digital marketing.