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How Safe are Your Passwords with Your Browser?

Password management is one of the more commonly seen features in today’s browsers, be it with the big names like Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox, or the lesser known Opera, Safari, etc. If you have clicked on the save password option, then the browser will automatically record the user name in the auto fill option and will give you an option to either choose to or ignore saving the password.

This is very convenient especially if you are using your personal computer, as the login becomes automatic. You might think that since you are the only user of that computer, you password will be safe. But you are forgetting that you are connected to the internet, a beehive for hackers and hacking software. Even a minor vulnerability will be exploited and before you know it, you will be a victim and someone else will be controlling your online accounts.

What Are The Risks You Are Going to Face?

When browsers save passwords, they will also store it on your computer. So if someone gains access to your computer, they can access the memory locations where the passwords are stored. Hackers today have developed codes that can automatically access the memory locations where passwords are stored and relay it through the internet to the hacker. You might think that since it is just email, you can relax a little. However, recent surveys have revealed that more than 37% of people use the same passwords for all their online accounts, including the sensitive ones like online banking and trading accounts.

For someone who can hack passwords from a computer, obtaining the user name will not be that big a problem. Also, you might be lulled into a false sense of security that since your bank website does not allow saving of user name or password on the browser, you are safe. The hackers obtain the password from your other account, even if it is an anonymous social media profile, and use it with the hacked bank user ID.

If you still want to use your browsers to save the passwords, here is a look at the security offered by top browsers.

Google Chrome

Chrome 21 not only saves your user names but also passwords in alphabetical order. You can access this password stored page by clicking on the settings icon on the top right corner of the window and then navigate to the appropriate option. For the sake of security, the characters of the passwords will be replaced by dots or asterisks but there will be an option that will display the passwords when clicked upon. One of the disadvantages in chrome is that when you have changed the password for an account, you will have to manually change the saved password. Anyone who logs into your account can access these passwords.

Mozilla Firefox

When compared to Chrome, Firefox 14 offers a better password management feature and even the way it is stored is more secure than the Chrome. As there is no feature to save your credit card details in the browser, you can think that this is one less threat to worry about. Also, another feature that Firefox trumps Chrome in is the password change detection. As soon as you change the password, the browser will automatically detect the change and prompt you for an update.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is probably the least secure of the three browsers as the password saving feature is fairly basic and also, passwords are stored without any encryption that will allow the administrator of your computer and any other users who have the access can read your passwords. Even IE doesn’t detect change in passwords and you have to update the changes manually.

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