A Good Example of Why Having Your Browser Save Passwords Might be a Bad Idea

By Akemi Iwaya on August 7th, 2013

All browsers will offer to save passwords for you if you like, but that may not be the best of ideas. A fire storm of debate erupted online yesterday concerning the ease in which saved passwords can be accessed in Google Chrome, the only major browser on the market without a master password option at this time.

While it is not that hard to perform the same action via the settings, all it takes is entering the following address in Chrome to jump right to your saved passwords automatically (chrome://settings/passwords). Now if you are the only one accessing your computer, then this is not really a problem, but if you have other people using it then that could lead to trouble. This shortens the amount of time it takes to access your credentials if they are seeking to invade the privacy of your accounts or wreak havoc with your online life. One quick “smash and grab”, close the tab, and who is to know what happened…

The other major browsers are a bit better about this by allowing or requiring the use of a master password in order to access the passwords stored in them. In Firefox you need to activate the feature first via the Security Section in Options. Internet Explorer and Safari will automatically ask the user to authenticate the request with a system password.

Regardless of the browsers you use, it may be a better idea to just avoid allowing them to store your passwords period and use an alternative method to manage them such as LastPass.

You can read more about the latest “debate” involving Google Chrome via the links below.

Do you save passwords in Chrome? Maybe you should reconsider

Chrome password security issue stirs debate

Google leaves your Chrome passwords unprotected to promote security

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 08/7/13
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