Why save passwords?
Saving passwords on your computer allows you to easily log into frequently used sites and services without having to remember or look up your login credentials each time. This saves you time and avoids the frustration of forgetting passwords or getting locked out of accounts. Some key benefits of saving passwords include:
- Convenience – Saved passwords mean you don’t have to repeatedly type them in or hunt for them when logging into sites or apps. You can access accounts with just a click or tap.
- Security – Using strong, unique passwords for each account is vital for security. Saving passwords means you can use complex passwords without worrying about remembering them.
- Password reuse – Saving passwords avoids using the same credentials across many sites. Reusing passwords is risky as breach of one account can compromise many.
- Accessibility – Saved passwords remain available even if you switch devices or lose internet access temporarily. You can always log back into accounts easily.
Overall, saving passwords improves convenience and security. Users are more likely to use strong unique passwords when they don’t have to be remembered.
Risks of saving passwords
While saving passwords has significant upside, there are also risks to consider:
- Account hijacking – Anyone with access to your saved passwords could potentially access your online accounts. This makes password security and computer safety critical.
- Malware – Keylogging or password stealing malware could capture saved passwords and compromise accounts. Using malware protection is important.
- Device loss – Losing a device with saved passwords poses a major account security risk if passwords aren’t adequately protected.
- Outdated records – Saved passwords need to be updated if you change credentials for an account. Out-of-date records do no good.
- Password fatigue – Saving passwords means you create fewer memories to aid recall. This can make recalling any non-saved passwords harder.
The risks can be mitigated through proper password hygiene and computer security habits. Overall the benefits still tend to outweigh potential risks for most users.
Where to save passwords
When it comes to where to save passwords on your devices, you have a few main options:
- Web browser – Popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari allow you to save passwords as you log into sites and recall them later to streamline logins.
- Password manager apps – Dedicated apps like LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane securely store all your passwords across devices and platforms.
- Mobile device – Many smartphones let you save passwords directly to their built-in password management system.
- Document files – Passwords can be stored in documents, spreadsheets or text files for basic needs. This method risks more exposure though.
Browsers or specialized password apps offer the most secure and convenient option. Relying solely on documents leaves passwords more vulnerable. Mobile devices are handy for on-the-go access alongside another save location.
Key factors in choosing password save locations
Some key factors to weigh when choosing where to save passwords include:
- Encryption – Is data encrypted both in transit and at rest? Strong encryption like AES-256 or above is optimal.
- Master password – Is a master password needed to access saved passwords? This adds a critical layer of security.
- Multi-factor authentication – Does the app or service offer extra login safeguards like biometrics or one-time codes?
- Cloud sync – Can passwords sync seamlessly across desktop and mobile for convenient access everywhere?
- Import & export – Can passwords be imported from or exported to other apps to transition between services?
- Organization – Are tools like tagging and folders offered for easy organization and searching?
Prioritizing encryption, master passwords, and multi-factor authentication is advised for optimal security. Cloud sync, import/export, and organization features add helpful convenience.
Browser built-in password managers
Popular web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge offer integrated password saving and management. This allows easy automated saving when you log into accounts through that browser.
Key advantages of using a browser’s built-in password manager include:
- Convenience – Passwords are saved and auto-filled with zero extra steps as you log into sites.
- Encryption – Saved passwords are securely encrypted both online and locally on your device.
- Sync – Passwords sync seamlessly via your browser account to provide access across devices.
- Accessibility – Logins are accessible even in private browsing or incognito windows after initial save.
- Import & export – Browsers allow importing from other password apps and exporting your saved logins.
By leveraging your existing browser login, saving passwords takes no extra signup or download. Encryption and sync ensure saved passwords are secure while accessible across devices.
Potential limitations to weigh include:
- Organization – Browser tools for organizing passwords are often more limited compared to dedicated apps.
- Exposures – Browser vulnerabilities theoretically expose all saved passwords at once if exploited.
- Limited sharing – Passwords usually can’t be securely shared with other users or devices without the same browser account.
- No advanced MFA – More advanced multi-factor login options may not be supported.
- Browser tie-in – Changing browsers means needing to migrate or start fresh with passwords.
While considered very secure,浏览器内置的密码管理器在组织和共享密码方面功能较弱。如果浏览器本身被入侵,所有保存的密码也可能被盗取。不支持更高级的多重认证方式。
Third party password manager apps
For advanced password management, dedicated third party apps like 1Password, LastPass, or Dashlane are popular options. They focus solely on password security.
Key benefits third party password managers offer:
- Advanced organization – Robust tools like tags and folders help organize many passwords.
- Strong encryption – Military grade AES-256 or similar encryption secures all data.
- Vaults and sharing – Safely share passwords with family, teams, etc via shared vaults.
- Auto-fill – Convenient auto-fill of usernames and passwords on many sites and apps.
- Secure sharing – Many support securely sharing passwords or one-time passwords to provide access.
- Password generation – Automatic strong unique password generation enhances security.
Third party apps excel at robust organization and convenient access. Advanced encryption and optional multi-factor authentication further enhance security.
Potential limitations to consider include:
- Cost – Many third party apps charge a monthly or annual subscription fee.
- Learning curve – Offers more features but also requires more setup and learning.
- Sync issues – Relying on company’s own cloud sync can cause issues if service is down.
- Import/export difficulties – Can sometimes be tricky migrating passwords from other sources.
- Platform limitations – Many focus on desktop access over mobile experience.
Third party offerings ultimately provide the most functionality at the cost of being more complex and sometimes expensive. Reliability depends on the specific app’s cloud infrastructure uptime.
|Built-in Browser||Third Party App|
|Cost||Free||Often paid service|
|Sharing & teams||Limited||Robust|
|Platforms||Tied to browser||Desktop + mobile apps|
This comparison summarizes key differences in features and limitations at a glance. Consider your specific password management needs.
Tips for choosing a password manager
Consider the following tips when choosing the right password manager for your needs:
- Assess your password needs – Do you need to handle many logins or just a few? Any team sharing needs?
- Consider convenience – Pick a tool that makes login easy via auto-fill and syncing.
- Check encryption methods – Verify use of strong end-to-end AES-256 or similar encryption.
- Look for zero-knowledge architecture – This ensures the provider cannot access your master key.
- Require master password and/or MFA – This adds critical extra account security layers.
- Evaluate costs – Browser tools are free while third parties often charge a subscription.
- Read independent reviews – Don’t rely solely on company claims. See what experts and users say.
- Test promising options – Try out apps that seem to fit your needs to determine ease of use.
Take time to assess your specific password management needs and habits. Comparing options will help identify the best solution.
How to save new passwords
Once you’ve chosen a password manager, saving new passwords as you sign up for accounts is straightforward:
- Create your account and set a strong, unique password. Great password tips: https://example.com/password-tips
- Your password manager will detect the new account creation and prompt to save login.
- Verify the username/email and password it captured are correct.
- Save to vault and confirm the unique account name you want to use.
- Consider adding tags/folders to organize logins for easy searching.
The key is set great passwords. Letting your password manager capture and store them eliminates the chore of manual data entry.
Tips for new password saves
Some tips for success when saving new passwords:
- Pay attention to save prompts – Don’t just dismiss alerts from your password manager.
- Double check captured data – Verify the username and password captured are 100% accurate.
- Use unique login names – Rename the save entry if needed to easily identify accounts.
- Apply tags/folders – Add relevant tags and sort into appropriate folders right away.
- Confirm your master password – Periodically check you can login to your password manager itself.
Taking the quick extra steps to confirm details, rename, organize, and verify your master password improves your saved password hygiene.
Importing and exporting passwords
If you switch between password managers or have passwords stored elsewhere, importing and exporting is crucial.
To import passwords from another app or source:
- Backup your existing passwords if needed for transfer.
- Check your new manager for import instructions. Many support .csv files.
- Select file format and export passwords from old app.
- Open import feature in new manager and select transfer file.
- The app will parse the file and add the logins to your vault.
- Review added logins and organize with tags/folders.
CSV export from another app is the most common scenario. The process is usually straight-forward but read documentation to avoid issues.
To export passwords from your current manager:
- Verify why you need to export passwords – transferring apps or accounts?
- Check your manager’s documentation for export instructions.
- Typically can select export format like .csv and encryption options.
- Choose passwords to export – often can select all or specific.
- Save exported file to local device or cloud storage as needed.
- Import exported passwords file to new destination app or store securely.
Like importing, exporting usually involves generating a .csv file protected by a master password. Handle exported files securely as they contain plain text passwords.
Best practices for password security
Once you’ve begun saving passwords, using best practices will keep your accounts secure:
- Use strong master password – Use 12+ random characters, change periodically.
- Enable two-factor authentication – Adds critical extra login protection.
- Be selective on auto-fill – Avoid overuse to limit exposure on shared devices.
- Watch for phishing attacks – Beware spoofing sites attempting to steal passwords.
- Use security keys for high value accounts – FIDO U2F devices offer the strongest protection.
- Update passwords periodically – Update your most important credentials regularly.
- Monitor security alerts – Pay attention and respond promptly to any breach notifications.
Leveraging your password manager’s advanced security options amplifies your overall account protection tremendously.
Troubleshooting common password manager issues
Password managers are reliable tools but occasional issues can still arise:
Forgotten master password
- Use any password hint/prompt questions you set up previously as a memory aid.
- Try variations on passwords you commonly use if no other clues.
- Perform a reset through account recovery steps if the provider offers this option.
- As a last resort, accounts may need to be reset manually if you still can’t gain access.
Setting up a reminder hint and recovery options can prevent master password lockouts.
- Check for network connection issues preventing device syncing.
- On mobile, check that background sync is not disabled for the app.
- Try manually triggering a sync or logging out and back in to reestablish connection.
- Confirm your cloud service account that supports syncing is still active.
Sync relies both on device connections and uninterrupted cloud service access to work properly.
Weak password alerts
- Identify accounts flagged for weak passwords and create new strong credentials.
- Update the weak passwords in your vault to the new ones.
- Check your password generator settings to create more robust passwords moving forward.
Password manager scans help reveal which of your logins are vulnerable to prioritize updating.
Password sharing issues
- If sharing login access, ensure recipient account has access privileges.
- Resend share invitation if new user never received or lost email.
- For restricted access, check permissions still allow password viewing.
- Try having recipient log out and back in to renew shared access.
Managing shared access requires care to troubleshoot viewing issues or loss of access.
The convenience of saving passwords comes with responsibility to use securely. Following best practices keeps your accounts safe. Using browser integrated password managers or dedicated apps both offer solid options balancing security, convenience, and functionality. With strong master passwords, thoughtful auto-fill use, and monitoring for potential threats, saving passwords provides major upside to improve your account security and login experience.