The experts are clear: it is necessary to use a specific password for each service and repeat it for everyone is the prelude to a misfortune if any of the accounts has been compromised in an attack. The passwords must also be complex (combining, if possible, characters, numbers and symbols and that have no relation to any of our data), and ultimately, it is frankly difficult not only to decipher them, but also to remember them. So, how can we manage such complex and sensitive information?
The best option, without a doubt, is to use a password manager, a service that encrypts each password for us and even suggests some very sophisticated each time we access a new service. The advantage of this type of services is that the user is completely unconcerned with storing and memorizing passwords as an app does it for us in the safest possible way. But usually, these programs involve a monthly subscription that not everyone is willing to take and there is an alternative, less secure, yes, free: use the browsers for this task.
Very comfortable but … sure?
The main browsers on the market offer the possibility to store passwords on their servers and do so in a transparent way for the user: once they have accessed the browser account (Google in the case of Chrome, iCloud in Safari, Microsoft account in Edge and the owners of Firefox and Opera), the software itself will ask if you want to remember that password for us. If we access it, the system will store the credentials in its servers, so that if we connect from another device (for example, the mobile), remember the access codes of the different services. Needless to say, it is necessary to use the same browser on all devices so that the data is synchronized.
Some browsers even suggest safe passwords (already known, long and complex) in the sites that we access for the first time, so that later they are stored in their database. To recover these passwords just visit that site again for the system to suggest us access and fill in the fields for us; another way to access passwords is through browser preferences, although this process is more tedious. As you can see, it is a tremendously comfortable system but … is it safe?
Experts strongly recommend, as we have pointed out, to use external managers for the care and maintenance of passwords, and with browsers there is a strange circumstance: they can be safer because they facilitate the use of complex combinations of characters and the use of a password for service, but they have a big weak point, especially for the most careless. The problem is that the passwords remain accessible even if the user moves away from the computer, so any other person who uses that computer later can enter the different websites if we are not careful.
Precisely Google was involved in a controversy by changing the operations of its Chrome browser precisely to avoid these mishaps and not communicate the change conveniently. In this way, employing browser password management will always be better than using traditional methods (a single password for everything, personal references, etc.), but we will have to be sure that we are the only users of that computer, or close the session in the browser when leaving.
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