Many internet users have heard of the password managers Google assigns, but only a few have downloaded and are using them. Why? Most people don’t trust these password managers. Google provides a basic password manager for free – the service is easy to use and requires no installation.
With that in mind, you’d think that there’s no need to bother with any other password managers, especially the ones that require you to pay. The problem is that there are too many browsers with inbuilt password managers to choose from, that are nothing special.
Then, there are fully-packed password manager applications that are still better than no protection at all. Let’s say that you’ve decided to use Google Chrome password manager. Here’s what you need to know about the security of it all:
Issues With Browser-Based Password Managers
The first problem with browser-based password managers is the nature of browsers. They simply weren’t built to manage sensitive data, such as your passwords. Regardless of what browser you’re using, Edge, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, are all the same.
The password manager service is just an extra feature meant to provide the user with a higher level of convenience. However, it’s not an integrated solution. Let’s take Google Chrome as the best example.
Google’s password generator isn’t capable of generatingstrong passwords by the latest standards, simply because generating extremely complex passwords isn’t an intuitive feature of the Google password manager.
There are two problems with how Google Chrome generates passwords:
- The only way to get password suggestions is to turn your password sync on.
- You can only create a password in the browser you’re using at the moment – there’s no way to create a strong password outside of the browser you’re currently using.
While these aren’t serious problems, the biggest issue is that the passwords Google generates are much simpler than they should be. To make it even worse, there’s nothing you can do to alter the given password.
Even if you get a strong password, you can’t change its length, characters, or copy your password in a manner you want. Instead, Google inputs and saves it. If you take a third-party password generator, you get to choose your copying options, the type of characters, and determine your password’s length.
You Can Count on Browser-Only Usage With Google Chrome’s Password Manager
If you choose to use the free password manager Google has given you, you will be limited to browser-only usage. In other words, you’re limited to the Google ecosystem as well as browser-usage only. Consider the following situations:
- You want to create a password and store your login for apps you use on your preferred device.
- You want to log into Netflix via your media streaming device or Smart TV.
- You don’t want to use Chrome on all your devices.
- You want to share your passwords with others.
If you decide to use Google Chrome’s free password manager, you will be limited to Google Chrome usage only. The best way to solve this problem is to switch to using a third-party password manager to make sure you keep your passwords separate from any other browser, including Google Chrome.
Google Chrome and the majority of browser-based password managers all have the same problem – your password security is directly based on your device security settings. Anyone with access to your phone, tablet, or computer will immediately be able to access all your passwords with almost no effort.
It’s a huge security issue, as any hacker worth his salt can easily break through your security settings and snatch away your valuable data. That’s a reason more to think about getting a password manager application, as it has two huge advantages over the free password manager that Google gives you:
- It requires you to log in with a separate master password.
- The app automatically locks your password after a specified period.
The biggest disadvantage of the free password manager Google gives to users is the lack of this automatic lock. Without it, any third party can access your data if they can log in. Your personal, professional, and financial data will be in the palm of their hand.
While we won’t argue that using Google password manager is convenient, it has many security issues that leave you exposed to a wide range of different risks.
How to Stay Safe With the Free Password Manager Google Has Given You
Fortunately, it’s not all grim – there’s a couple of things you can do to make sure you stay safe while using your Google password manager:
- Protect your system password – don’t share your system password with anyone unless you have to.
- Lock your devices when you don’t use them – this goes without saying: it’s paramount to keep your files and system safe when you’re not around.
- Protect each of your accounts with separate, strong, and unique passwords – the stronger the password, the better.
- Encrypt your hard drive – even though this step is a bit advanced, it can do you good.
If you’re just an occasional Google user, using the free password manager Google has given you is secure. However, keep in mind that Google just stores your password, nothing more.
However, if you’re an advanced internet user who is required to store many keys in your password manager lockbox, such as social media, email, investment, banking, business, you’ll need a higher level of security.