Is Storing Passwords Online Safe?

Is Storing Passwords Online Safe?

Employees might get tempted to store the credentials using the browser’s password manager. Allowing this can expose the organization’s security to significant threats that cripple business operations.

The first Thursday of every May is World Password Day, designed to foster good password habits that help to better our online security. Enterprises need the best password management policies and ensure all the resources comply with increasing security hygiene. Users can use browser-based or standalone password managers to remember their passwords for multiple applications. Many organizations often face a dilemma about whether storing online passwords is secure.

Enterprise Talk interacted with the cybersecurity experts of VPN Overview on the occasion of world password day 2023 to understand how businesses enhance their password-storing guidelines.

Are password managers truly safe or not? 

“The likeness is that users have countless accounts on several different websites and platforms. For almost every account they create, they have to think of a password that will allow them to access any secured data without being hacked easily.

Password managers help users remember all their online passwords, but there are some additional advantages to using them. Password managers encrypt your passwords so no one, but the user has access to them,” says cybersecurity experts of VPN Overview.

Browser password managers are not encrypted effectively and hence can be compromised easily. Are all password managers safe?

“Not all password managers are 100% safe. As users will be giving the password manager access to all their passwords, choosing the one businesses can trust is important. Some self-proclaimed ‘password managers’ misuse trusts to gather and use personal information against the organization.

Similarly, other password managers are simply not secure enough and could be compromised – even though they may have better intentions. Ultimately, if they cannot keep the information safe, businesses should not risk using them,” Says cybersecurity experts of VPN Overview.

Browser Password Manager Vs. Password Manager

Browser-based password managers and standalone password managers have multiple similarities and differences that CISOs and SecOps teams need to consider while selecting the right one for their business.

  • Security

Encryption is only effective if the associated encryption keys are secure. Even though the browser password managers save the credentials in encrypted databases, they save the associated key on predictable locations unprotected. Hence this encryption does not offer airtight security, and intruders can easily access the business network by compromising an application.

  • Storage

Standalone password managers enable users to save more than just their credentials. The best password managers allow users to store files, pictures, and business documents in a secure cloud-based vault. A browser password manager limits the users to store their passwords and nothing more.

  • Sharing

There are various password managers available that businesses can use to share credentials within the team securely. The best vendors even enable enterprises to share one-time share credentials, which offer top-notch security to the organization’s security.

  • Creating passwords

Both password manager types help users create unique, strong passwords for their accounts. But browser-based password managers will not help the users to determine if their password needs more strengthening, whereas a password manager can.

Based on the organization’s need, password managers allow users to create and store passwords that are complex enough to strengthen overall security. Browser-based passwords do not have effective precautionary steps while creating passwords, making the credentials more vulnerable.

  • Accessibility

If organizations embrace a browser-based password manager, it will restrict their capabilities to access the passwords for multiple other browsers or applications. Resources that need access to multiple applications or browsers simultaneously cannot use password managers to stay connected. Hence having passwords stored in the browsers can create inconsistencies for the users.

Security teams can leverage a cloud-based password manager to access their credentials from anywhere on any device. All resources will have access to all the credentials whenever they need on any browser or device without compromising on security.

Also Read: World Password Day 2023: a CISOs Playbook

Why Browser Password Managers Unsafe?

  • Higher chances of being compromised

If the browser on which the user stores the credential is compromised, the password gets exposed to various threats. Users that use browsers to store their credentials might not even need to compromise the device to steal the credentials. Malicious actors can easily breach or infect the device with spyware to access the user’s browser settings.

Once the cybercriminal gets access to the browser setting, they can view the credentials in plain text. Businesses should consider security as a top priority while selecting their browser or password managers to store their credentials online.

  • Remain logged in

Enterprises that use browsers to store their credentials will remain logged into the application without even knowing. It poses a significant security risk to the entire business network and could be the reason for a full-blown cyber-attack incident.

If the devices get stolen, cybercriminals can retrieve all the stored passwords if the user logs into the browser, which is true most of the time.

  • Browsers cannot replace password managers

One significant fact that security decision-makers need to consider is that browser-based password managers streamline the login process for users and do not secure sensitive business information. Security and productivity are not at the top of the developers’ minds while designing browser password managers.

To streamline the login process and boost employee productivity without compromising security, organizations need to implement the dedicated best password managers in their enterprise tech stack. The password manager that the organization selects should be able to detect weak or reused passwords to strengthen security. The best password widgets in the market train users to strengthen their passwords and will have Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) codes.

A few top password managers have dark web monitoring to monitor the dark web for credentials compromised in public data breaches, alert the enterprises if their password is found in the directory, and notify the users to update that password immediately. Not all password managers are safe; hence storing passwords online cannot always be safe. Organizations and users need to make decisions while storing their passwords online vigilantly.

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