Online security is a very real issue in 2022.
If you’ve never had your account hacked or your password stolen, chances are you know someone – that’s why more and more people are using password managers.
- NordPass Premium, from £1.09 per month – buy here
Cybercriminals are growing increasingly sophisticated in their methods of data collection – and they are always looking for soft targets.
Password managers are a major way to mitigate that.
Most internet browsers, like Google Chrome, have built-in password managers, but they are limited and come with attached strings.
There are more advanced services from cybersecurity companies like NordPass.
In this article, we’ll dive into password managers: how to use them, if they’re safe, what they do for your online security, and how to choose the right one for you.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is basically a database, sometimes called a digital vault, where all your passwords can be stored and accessed whenever you need them.
It’s not just passwords that can be stored there: you can also use these managers for sensitive information like your credit card details or notes.
Password managers don’t just provide storage for your passwords: they can also randomly generate different passwords for each of your accounts. Since the password manager will generate strong and complex passwords, you won’t need to worry about creating a password that’s at least 12 characters and has a variety of upper and lower case combinations. , numbers and symbols.
You don’t have to remember these random passwords: the administrator will automatically fill them in every registration form you use. That’s super handy when you’re shopping online or simply accessing anything from your Netflix account to your online banking.
Password managers can also tell you if you’re using old, weak passwords and if they’ve been breached in any recent data leaks.
In other words: you have no reason to use the same 5-year-old password on all your accounts – that’s not how it’s done in 2022.
How does a password manager work?
Different password managers have different interfaces – but the basic elements are still the same.
In the case of password managers NordPassAll your passwords and other sensitive data are stored in what is described as a ‘vault’.
This is encrypted, backed up, and synced to Nord’s cloud regularly.
Different password managers use different encryption models. In the case of NordPass, military-grade XChaCha20 encryption is used.
As you can imagine, this is an extremely strong encryption that has received rave reviews from cybersecurity experts.
To access your vault, you’ll need to provide a ‘master password’ – that’s something you don’t share with anyone.
When you create your master password, you will also receive a recovery code. In case you forget your master password, you can get your account back with this code.
If you don’t know both the master password and the recovery code, not even the NordPass team can help you.
The company operates on a zero-knowledge policy and, therefore, cannot decrypt or figure out your master password.
For added security, you can incorporate biometric identification such as fingerprint or face ID (provided your / devices support them).
What are the different types of password managers and which are the most secure?
In general, there are two types of password managers.
There are apps built into browsers, such as Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox.
On the other hand, there are more advanced offerings from NordSecurity, a cybersecurity brand known for products like NordVPN (a leading VPN provider) and NordPass (a leading password manager).
Many people are familiar with the first type of password manager: no matter what browser you use, chances are you’ve been prompted to save the password you enter.
But browser-based password managers come with significant limitations.
First, because all those passwords are stored in the browser, they can’t be used across platforms – if you access a separate app, like Netflix, you can’t use it. any autofill function.
Also, since all those passwords are saved to the browser itself, all the cybercriminal needs is your device password to gain access.
This is not the case with cloud-based password managers like NordPass – with these services, all such data is stored on the company’s servers.
So if the worst happens and your device is hacked or stolen, none of your passwords are available without that ‘master password’.
Are password managers really secure? Can they be hacked?
You may have seen as a potential password manager flaw: you’re keeping all that information in one place.
In other words, if cybercriminals have access to your passwords, they have access to every last one of them.
But high-end password managers from companies like NordPass make that very fragile.
Unlike a browser-based password manager, it has MFA (multi-factor authentication), biometrics, and top-level encryption – it’s virtually impossible to break those many “doors”.
On its servers, NordPass uses what it calls a ‘zero-knowledge’ architecture – which essentially means that even the company itself can’t see those details.
All the encryption and decryption takes place on your device, and if NordPass’s servers are breached, all that information is essentially useless to everyone but you.
Where do I find my saved passwords?
In a browser-based password manager, you’ll need to go through a series of steps to find your store of saved passwords.
Here are step-by-step instructions for the three larger browsers.
If you are using Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- In Chrome, click the ellipsis icon on the right side of the toolbar.
- Click ‘Install.’
- A new tab will open in your browser. In the ‘AutoFill’ section, click ‘Passwords.’
- Here you’ll see a list of all your saved passwords and their respective accounts – to see any, tap the ‘eye’ icon and enter your device password.
If you are a Firefox user, follow these steps:
- In Firefox, select ‘Menu’, then click ‘Preferences’
- On the left panel, click ‘Privacy and Security’
- Scroll down to ‘Logins & Passwords’ then click ‘Saved Credentials’
- Click ‘Show Password’.
If you use an Apple browser, here’s how to find your saved passwords:
- In Safari’s menu, go to ‘Preferences’, then click ‘Passwords’.
- Enter your user account password or sign in with Touch ID.
- You can then select a website and click ‘Edit’ to view and change your password.
If you want to try a browser-independent password manager, you’ll need to extract your saved passwords and upload them to your password manager.
NordPass allows you to upload a .CSV file with your password, or better yet, it can automatically save passwords from most major browsers.
Are there any risks with password managers?
In the end, most of the risks associated with password managers are from the surrounding factors – how responsible are you for protecting passwords that could give others access to the data vault your.
(Of course, not many stupid people leave a post on the corner of their laptop with a password scribbled on it. Or choose a 1-2-3-4 passcode for their phone.)
But if you’re concerned about your password manager not providing rich security, our advice is to avoid browser-based options in favor of options from security companies. cybersecurity – they provide a higher level of peace of mind.
Are there any good free password managers out there? Are they safe?
Google, Apple, Firefox, and Mozilla all have password managers built into their browsers. These are reliable services, but come with the limitations we’ve described.
Most free password managers have limitations – they often don’t let you sign in when switching devices, and don’t have a tool to tell you which of your passwords are weak or have been breached.
That’s why it’s best to choose a password manager that costs less than a cup of coffee monthly, but will guarantee you that peace of mind.
And if you’re thinking about all the potential hassle of setting up a new password manager, NordPass comes with a handy import feature that pulls all your passwords from your existing service. .
- NordPass Premium, from £1.09 per month – buy here
For another top security service from Nord, read our in-depth read NordVPN Review.
To see a roundup of our favorite services, visit Best VPN article.
And to learn more, there are What is VPN? explainer.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8409659/are-password-managers-safe/ Are password managers safe in 2022?