Are password managers safe in 2022?

Online security is a very real issue in 2022.

If you haven’t had an account hacked or password stolen, chances are you know someone who did – which is why more and more people are now using a password manager.

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Password managers like NordPass offer a very high level of online protection.
  • NordPass Premium, from £1.09 per month – buy here

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their means of obtaining data, and they are always looking for easy targets.

If you regularly suffer from password stress or make the mistake of relying on one of these common passwords, you might want to start using a password manager.

Password managers are the main way to avoid this.

Most internet browsers like Google Chrome come with built-in password managers, but they have their limitations and restrictions.

There are more advanced services from cybersecurity companies such as NordPass.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at password managers: how to use them, whether they’re secure, what they do for your online security, and how to choose the right one for you.

What is a password manager?

Nordpass Generates Complex Passwords That You Can Customize To Your Liking.

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NordPass generates complex passwords that you can customize to your liking.

A password manager is essentially a database, sometimes referred to as a digital vault, where all your passwords can be stored and accessed when you need them.

You can store more than just passwords there: you can also use these managers for sensitive information such as your credit card details or notes.

Password managers aren’t just for storing your passwords: they can also randomly generate different passwords for each of your accounts. Because password managers will generate strong and complex passwords, you don’t have to worry about coming up with a password that is at least 12 characters long and contains various combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

You don’t have to remember these randomized passwords: the manager will automatically fill them in on every registration form you use. This comes in handy when you’re shopping online or just accessing anything from your Netflix account to online banking.

Password managers can also tell you if you’re using old passwords, weak ones, and if they’ve been compromised by some recent data breach.

In other words: there is no excuse for you to use the same five-year-old password across all of your accounts—in 2022, that simply isn’t the case.

How do password managers work?

Different password managers have different interfaces, but the essence remains the same.

In the case of a password manager NordPassall your passwords and other sensitive data are stored in what is known as “vault”.

It’s encrypted, backed up and synced to the Nord cloud on a regular basis.

Different password managers use different encryption models. NordPass uses military-grade XChaCha20 encryption.

As you can imagine, this is an incredibly strong encryption that has earned high praise from cybersecurity experts.

In order to access your vault, you will need to come up with a “master password” – this is something you don’t tell anyone.

When you create a master password, you will also be provided with a recovery code. If you forget your master password, you can recover your account using this code.

If you don’t know your master password or recovery code, then even the NordPass team can’t help you.

The company operates under a zero-knowledge policy and therefore cannot decrypt or learn your master password.

For added security, you can enable biometric identification such as thumbprint or face ID (provided your device supports them).

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What types of password managers are there and which ones are the most secure?

Generally speaking, there are two types of password managers.

There are built-in browsers such as Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox.

On the other hand, there are more advanced services like NordSecurity, a cybersecurity brand known for products like NordVPN (a leading VPN provider) and NordPass (a leading password manager).

Many people are familiar with the first category of password managers: whichever browser you use, chances are you’ll be prompted to save the passwords you’ve entered.

But browser-based password managers have significant limitations.

First, since all these passwords are stored in browsers, they cannot be used across platforms – if you go into a separate app like, say, Netflix, you won’t be able to use any of the autofill functionality.

Also, since all these passwords are stored in the browser itself, all the cybercriminal needs is your device’s password in order to gain access.

This does not apply to cloud-based password managers such as NordPass – with these services, all this data is stored on the company’s servers.

So if the worst happens and your device is hacked or stolen, none of your passwords will be accessible without this “master password”.

Are password managers really secure? Can they be hacked?

You’ve probably already considered a potential drawback of password managers: you store all this information in one place.

In other words, if a cybercriminal gains access to your passwords, he or she has access to all passwords down to the last one.

But premium password managers from companies like NordPass make this option very small.

Unlike browser-based password managers, it has multi-factor authentication (MFA), biometrics, and top-notch encryption – it’s almost impossible to crack so many “doors”.

On their servers, NordPass uses what they call a “zero knowledge” architecture, which essentially means that even the company itself cannot see these details.

All encryption and decryption happens on your device, and if the NordPass servers were hacked, all this information would be fundamentally useless to anyone but you.

Where can I find saved passwords?

In a browser-based password manager, you will need to follow a series of steps to find your saved password vault.

Here are step by step instructions for the three big browsers.

Chromium

If you are using Google Chrome, follow these steps:

  1. In Chrome, click on the three dots icon on the right side of the toolbar.
  2. Click “Settings”.
  3. A new tab will open in your browser. In the Autofill section, click Passwords.
  4. Here you will see a list of all your saved passwords and their respective accounts – to see them, tap the eye icon and enter your device password.

fire fox

If you are a Firefox user, follow these steps:

  1. In Firefox, select Menu, then click Preferences.
  2. In the left pane, click “Privacy and Security”.
  3. Scroll down to Logins and Passwords, then click Saved Logins.
  4. Click “Show Passwords”.

Safari

If you’re using an Apple browser, here’s how to find saved passwords:

  1. From the Safari menu, go to Preferences, then click Passwords.
  2. Either enter your user account password or sign in with Touch ID.
  3. After that, you can select a website and click “Edit” to view and change your password.

If you want to try a password manager that is browser agnostic, you need to extract the saved passwords and upload them to the password manager.

NordPass allows you to upload a .CSV file with your passwords, or better yet, it can automatically save passwords from most major browsers.

Are there risks with password managers?

Ultimately, most of the risks associated with password managers are related to environmental factors – how responsible are you for protecting passwords that can give others access to your data store.

(Of course, not many people are stupid enough to leave a sticker on the corner of their laptop with a password scrawled on it. Or choose a 1-2-3-4 passcode for their phone.)

But if you’re worried that your password manager isn’t secure enough, we advise avoiding browser-based options in favor of options from cybersecurity companies – they provide an extra layer of peace of mind.

Are there any good free password managers? Are they safe?

Nordpass Will Let You Know If Any Of Your Passwords Have Been Compromised So You Can Change Them Immediately.

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NordPass will let you know if any of your passwords have been compromised so you can change them immediately.

Google, Apple, Firefox, and Mozilla have password managers built into their browsers. These are reliable services, but they have limitations, which we have already described.

Most free password managers have limitations—they often won’t let you stay signed in when you switch devices, and they don’t have tools to tell you which of your passwords are weak or have been compromised.

That’s why it’s probably better to choose a password manager that has a lower monthly fee than a cup of coffee but gives you that peace of mind.

And if you’re put off by the thought of all the possible hassles of setting up a new password manager, NordPass offers a handy import feature that pulls all your passwords from your pre-existing service.

  • NordPass Premium, from £1.09 per month – buy here

Read about Nord’s other leading security service in our in-depth NordVPN review.

An overview of our favorite services can be found in our best VPN article.

And to learn more, read our article What is a VPN? explainer.

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