Every one of us doubts if password managers are safe to use?. The majority of cyber-security specialists agree that Password Managers are the most secure ways to protect your credentials.
Do some users still have doubts about how password managers secure their passwords? Risks of using different types of password managers? And, if you should use a password manager at all?
To answer all your questions, we’ve prepared this article for you. So, let’s get started.
How Password Managers Secure Your Passwords?
Password Managers secure your passwords in many ways. Even though they can also be under threat from cybercriminals, such a scenario is improbable, provided you take the necessary precautions. It’s easier for cybercriminals to use phishing or other malware programs than to crack an intense and complex password.
So how can Password Managers be so secure?
Password Managers use military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to protect their passwords. It takes millions of years to crack the cipher, even if you use it to make a brute-force attack or any other technique.
With the help of zero-knowledge architecture, Password Managers protect your data from themselves. It means that your credentials get encrypted before you use them anywhere. So when they end up on a company’s server, the provider has no tools to decipher them.
Most password managers will ask for a master password to access your vault. If your master password is secure enough, you can be sure that the rest of your passwords are safe. It also uses 2FA to enhance your database safety. To further improve your security, you can use biometric authentication, such as a fingerprint or face scan.
Furthermore, Password Managers have various features to enhance your security. Some Password Managers remind you to change your passwords. At the same time, others check password strength and inform you about weak or reused passwords. Also, some even scan the dark web to check if any of your credentials leaked online.
Risks Of Using A Password Manager
There are certain risks even while you are using a reliable Password Manager:
– All sensitive Data In One Place
Keeping all your personal information in a single place is risky. It includes your credentials, credit card details, and secure notes. In case of a breach, you need to block all payment options and change passwords for all accounts. It might give enough time for the attacker to do damage.
– Backup Is Not Always Possible
For cloud-based password managers, your only hope is that your provider has a data backup if the servers break. But it will be against zero-knowledge architecture.
The risks increase multi-fold if you decide to keep your vault offline on any one of your devices. Keeping your backup on an unprotected disk drive or unprotected cloud service won’t help either.
– Not All Devices Are Secure Enough
Hackers exploit the same vulnerability to get access to all your logins in one attack. If your device gets infected by malware or a keylogger, typing the master password will give full access to the cybercriminals. That’s why password managers should invest in securing all their devices first to reduce the risks.
– Not Using Biometric Authentication
Biometric authentication is a great way to fortify your level of security. You can configure your password manager to request either a fingerprint or a face scan. This reduces the chances of someone hacking into your vault becomes slim. It’s also easier for you to touch the fingerprint scanner than to enter a master password.
– Poor Reviewed Password Managers
If a Password Manager has weak encryption, offers few features, you shouldn’t touch it. When it comes to securing your vault, which contains all your personal information, saving a few bucks a month should be your top priority.
– Forgetting Your Master Password
You need to recover each of your logins one by one if you are the only one who knew it. Your Password Manager doesn’t come with a reset feature. You can store your Master Password or a hint in a physical form, in a secure place such as a safe.
Some of the risks stem from your choice of Password Managers, but others exist on the user’s behavior. If we do not count the latter, we can see that there aren’t many risks of using a Password Manager.
Can You Trust Password Managers?
Despite all the concerns, good password managers are tough to compromise. The usage of AES 256-bit encryption, the “zero-knowledge” technique, and 2FA make password managers a much safer option.
Master Password is the most important thing when it comes to keeping your vault secure. So it would be best if you made sure that the Master Password is intense and complex with a mix of alphanumeric characters and symbols.
What If Your Password Manager Gets Hacked?
With the advancement in technology, even the most secure Password Managers have vulnerabilities.
Passwords are encrypted locally. It means that Password Managers have no way to decipher your data because they install a zero-knowledge policy. If a hacker breaches your vault, they’ll see encrypted information unless they manage to get hands-on with your physical device. They can do it either by stealing it, injecting malware or by logging keystrokes. The attacker needs your master password, and if you’re secured, the chance of a successful attack becomes low.
If you find malware on your system, you need to reinstall the OS and change your passwords in the vault. Ensure you turn-on 2FA on all your accounts. This way, you will be able to notice whenever an unusual request comes to the authenticator app.
Which Password Manager Is The Most Secure?
People familiar with password managers know about the three types of Password Managers. Each Password Manager comes with its set of pros and cons. Let’s discuss in detail all those types one by one.
– Browser-Based Password Manager
Browser-Based Password Managers are the least secure password managers. They are free and easy to use. But most of them lack features like:
- Password Generation
- Measuring of Password Strength
- Cross-browser syncing.
Most of the browser-based password managers don’t include AES 256-bit encryption and 2FA. They work on only one web browser. If you want to move from one web browser to another, you would have to import and export passwords. Furthermore, it’s not possible to synchronize your vault on different browsers. All this leads to storing your passwords in a secure location.
Most browser-based password managers do not have a password generator. They also can not detect weak or reused passwords. Dark web monitoring or data breach scanner reports are also not available.
– Cloud-Based Password Managers
Cloud-based password managers are more secure than any browser-based password manager. They are very convenient and can get accessed from anywhere. While using them, your backup would be available on the cloud. But they are only internet-dependent. You don’t have control over your vault security, meaning if there is a data breach on the provider’s servers, your data would be at risk.
Most of the cloud-based password managers provide a backup for your vault. In case of a server breach, you can recover a recent version of your database.
Moreover, these password managers allow you to store passwords and notes, and credit card details. This way, you can protect all your sensitive information.
They detect reused, weak passwords, generate strong passwords, and check for data breach reports. They also allow you to share your vault entries. Also, they can work on many browsers and operating systems.
– Desktop-Based Password Managers
Desktop Based Password Managers are secured, but the Password Manager is not compromised to the point that the system you are using. It is one of the safest options as it does not need an internet connection. But you can not access it from any other device. Password sharing is also complicated, and they require manual backups.
These Password Managers store your data locally, on your devices. The device doesn’t need to connect to the internet, so there might be zero chances of hacking into it. The most likely scenario is you somehow installing a keylogger and typing in your master password. But, you can avoid all this by using biometric authentication.
Having a Desktop-Based Password Manager has its cons. You would need to take regular backups, and if your device breaks down, your whole vault will go down with it.
Are Premium Password Managers Safe?
The premium password managers are way secured than the majority of free ones. The latter is often full of bugs, developed by shady companies, and even includes malware. Despite having a bad reputation, some of the free password managers are on par with premium ones. Still, with a few fewer features, Premium Password Managers often include a free version.
Usually, both Password Managers versions use AES 256-bit military-grade encryption and zero-knowledge architecture. It means that there’s no possible way to decipher your database until and unless the attacker has access to your device.
There is a proper Master Password, 2FA, and Anti-Malware tool to keep your vault safe.
Security Flaws Of Free Password Managers
Premium password managers provide added security in extra features. The free version usually doesn’t offer 2FA and lacks other security options.
Most free password managers do not support biometric data, two-factor authentication. It means that you will have to enter your master password all the time. Also, most of the free password managers do not have the option to audit your passwords.
It’s impossible to find a free password manager that integrates a dark web scanner. But, a premium password manager checks Data Breach Scanner to see if your credentials have leaked on Dark Web.
In The End
Yes, using Password Managers are safe to use, But not all password managers are the same; they have their flaws and vulnerabilities. But, it’s still better than reusing the same weak passwords on all your accounts. It is a severe vulnerability if you do not use Two-Factor Authentication on all your accounts.
Most Password Managers have a flawless reputation as they provide security features. Password Managers also let you share it with your family and friends. It is a much better way than sharing your credentials via unencrypted emails or messages.