There are a lot of conflicting voices when people talk about storing passwords in your web browser. If you look at both sides of the argument, it can be easy to see that there are good points to both sides.
Those who are quite keen on their computer security usually steer clear of allowing browsers to remember passwords. On the other hand, people who don’t really want to bother with the technical details will just want to have their passwords saved and live life happily doing the things they love on their computer.
Now, before you jump to either side of the fence, here are a few things you should consider. Remember that everything has its pros and cons. To help you see the best and worst of letting a machine keep your lock and key as it were, take time to go over the list prepared below.
The Smart Thing about Storing Passwords
The smartest thing (or perhaps the only smart thing) about letting your computer or your web browser specifically to remember the passwords you use on the Internet is that you don’t have to bother trying to remember it. Cool idea, right? You see, we human beings of the information era are forced to remember a ton of things.
We are forced to remember our grocery lists, combinations to our lockers (one at work, one in school, and one at the gym), girlfriend(s) phone number(s), client phone numbers, your mom’s birthday, the amount of money you have left in the bank, your ATM’s pin number, and the lock combination on the bullet proof safe stashed away in your dad’s garage.
The other weird thing about passwords used on the Internet is that they are so darn complicated. Why can’t these things just be as simple as some of the easiest things people can remember? They need to have at least six characters (other websites need longer ones!) and they need to be a combination of letters and numbers.
If you’re the type of person that surfs the net safely and only shops online, reads emails, and see the latest Tweets, Facebook posts, MySpace pages, and the next YouTube viral video, then you’re probably okay with having your browser remember passwords.
Going a bit technical (just slightly), you’ll be immune to the effects of key loggers since they can’t track what buttons you pushed to log on to any website. You are also a bit (again, just slightly) protected from phishing sites (websites that try to steal your passwords) since you don’t get to enter your passwords anyway (well, until you type your password on the box provided for anyway).
The Not So Smart Thing about Storing Passwords
There’s really no right or wrong answer with regard to storing passwords in your browser – it’s all up to the user actually. However, before jumping the gun, consider the following drawbacks to saving passwords in your computer.
1. You may forget your password – period. Since you don’t type your password that often, you tend to forget what it is eventually. Not so serious? Well, read on.
2. You may have a hard time trying to recover your passwords in case your computer crashes (now you see how serious it is).
3. You’re vulnerable to snoopy kids, friends, and whoever has a chance to mess around with your computer. Let’s face it, since you no longer need to type your password, anyone can open your email, check out your bank account, or do other stuff in you blessed name simply because all they need to do is click on the mouse.
4. Your passwords are out in the open. If you think that the people around you are the only possible culprits, well guess again. There’s a lot more of them on the Internet. There are fraud sites that can extract your passwords or look them up in your hard drive. That’s like hanging your car keys on the hood with a huge sign that says “here they are, take ‘em!”
Considering the pros and cons of storing passwords, if ever you want to do it, at least never save the passwords for secure sites like your email, bank accounts, credit card accounts etc. Of course, safe practice dictates that storing passwords in your web browser is a huge mistake.