You may have heard of password managers − systems that remember all your passwords, so you don’t have to. They’re definitely convenient, and ones like LastPass are very highly rated. But are they safe? Password managers come with risks, and here are some of the main reasons you may want to avoid using them.
You Could Forget Your Master Password
One of the most significant risks in using a password manager is forgetting your master password. When you use a password manager, you only have to enter that one master password for your password manager account, no matter whether you are logging in to your social media account, banking account, or anything else.
You only have to remember a single password for all accounts, which is convenient. However, that master password still needs to be secure enough so that people cannot guess it, and this means that it may be so complex that you forget it. If you forget your master password, you won’t be able to log into anything, and resetting it will take a bit of work.
Not all Devices are Secure
Not all devices are secure, and this could be your tablet, your laptop, or your phone. This is usually the case with older devices that feature out-of-date operating and security systems, particularly those that no longer support new updates.
If you have a phone or computer susceptible to malware, spyware, and viruses in general, a criminal could get a keylogger virus onto your device, which records all keystrokes.
A hacker could access your master password and accounts that you are using the password manager for. If you plan on using a password manager, make sure to only do so on trusted and highly secure devices.
They Don’t Work on all Browsers and Devices
Although this really is just a minor negative, not all browsers and devices support all password managers. Of the four main web browsers (Chrome, Explorer, Edge, Firefox), you can estimate that most password managers may work on only two or three of them at most. This is not a huge issue, just an inconvenience, but still, something to consider.
There Might Not be a Backup
One of the more serious issues you might be faced with when using a password manager is that there might not be a backup of all of your information. There is always a chance that the server that the password manager runs on could break down.
Should this happen and there is no backup of your vault (where all of your passwords are stored), you will have to wait until the server is back up to log into your accounts.
Moreover, if you have a backup stored on an offline device, if the server crashes some and someone hacks into your device, they could access your password vault.
The Service Itself Could be Bad
There are a few different password managers to use, and as with all products and services, some are better than others. There are some truly great ones, such as LastPass, but many are known to experience many issues.
The low-grade password managers might have few features, poor customer service, servers that get overloaded, etc. Before you choose a password manager, make sure to do your due diligence to determine whether or not it is one of the good ones.
We aren’t going to go into much detail here, but these services cost money. If you are just planning to use it for basic accounts that don’t have much sensitive information on them, the cost of a password manager might not be worth it.
The Risks of a Single Sign-on System
We touched on this before in terms of someone obtaining your master password, but there is also a bit more to it than that. Hackers can potentially hack the password manager, their servers, your device, and your internet connection.
Although it is not common for password managers to suffer from such large-scale security breaches, it is possible.
If a crook hacks into the server where your vault is, or even the vault itself, it can put you at risk. If all your passwords are stored in one place, you will be in serious trouble if a hacker gets in.
They Don’t Do Your Memory any Favors
Although this doesn’t really have much to do with the password managers themselves, if you stop forcing yourself to remember things like passwords, it can adversely affect your memory. Just think about how 30 years ago, we all had to remember phone numbers.
Now, with smartphones, if your phone breaks, you probably couldn’t even remember your mother’s phone number. Although not much research has been done on this front yet, using yet another piece of software to do the heavy lifting for you cannot be great for your mental capacity and overall cognitive abilities.
Like your muscles, to keep your brain in top shape, it needs to be exercised, and using software to remember passwords is another way humans have become lazy.
While password managers may be convenient, they also have their risks and drawbacks. We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t try using one, but please exercise the utmost caution. If you’re still in worry about your password may be traced to one of the websites you’ve been using, ask for IT support advice on how to secure more your password.
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