Are you still creating user accounts everywhere? Maybe you should stop and sign in with your Google, Facebook, or Apple account instead. It might just be more secure—and it’s definitely more secure if you’re not currently using a password manager.
One Strong Password With No Password Reuse
If you’re creating user accounts for each service you use, there’s a good chance you’re reusing passwords or using simpler passwords that are easy to remember. Then, when a website is breached and leaks your password, an attacker could use those email and password combinations to get access to your accounts. DoorDash losing 5 million logins was just the most recent example, but such breaches happen frequently.
That’s why we recommend using a password manager: You can create strong, unique passwords for each service you use and store them in your password manager’s secure vault. But, unfortunately, most people don’t use password managers.
If you sign in with Google, Facebook, or Apple, you can create a strong, unique password and remember it. You just have to remember that one password for your main account. It’s kind of like using a password manager, but it’s a little easier for the average person to get started with.
There’s another significant advantage to signing in with Google, Facebook, or Apple, too: Two-factory security.
Physical Security Keys and Other Two-Factor Tricks
You have many more options for locking down your Google, Facebook, and Apple accounts. For example, you can require a YubiKey or a Google Titan Security Key when signing into your Google or Facebook account. Other options like a code-generator app, app-based authentication, and SMS-based authentication are also available.
If you sign into other services with a Google or Facebook account, your two-factor authentication method is effectively securing that other account, too. Other services don’t generally have such a wide variety of two-factor options and support for hardware security keys—in fact, they may not offer two-factor authentication options at all.
Apple doesn’t offer support for physical security keys like this. But, when you use Sign in With Apple and sign in on another device, you’ll be prompted to enter a verification code sent to your trusted Apple device or phone number. Your Apple account and its two-factor authentication becomes the security key to your other accounts.
What About Privacy?
You might be concerned about this because of privacy. Do you really want Facebook or Google knowing about every other site you have an account with? And do you really want every app you’re using seeing all your Facebook information?
Well, Facebook and Google perform some tracking anyway, and there’s a good chance they have an idea of what apps and services you use. And don’t worry: Services you’re signing into can’t see all the information in your Facebook or Google accounts. The service uses OAuth and gets only the information you choose to give it about your account.
Sure, if you sign in via Facebook or Google, the app gets access to your email address—but you’d have to provide that email address if you were signing up for a separate account with that service.
If you’re really concerned about privacy, you should take a look at Sign in With Apple. Apple’s been talking a lot about privacy, but it’s not just talk. Sign in With Apple lets you hide your email address—it will automatically generate a unique, random email address that forwards to your regular email address. Services actually get less information about you than if you created a separate account with your regular email address. It’d be nice to see Google or Facebook offer something like this, too.
It’s Like a More User-Friendly Password Manager
Even if you don’t want to use a Google, Facebook, or Apple account to sign in everywhere, we hope you’ll take the most important advice and use a password manager. Your password manager can generate and store strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts. Don’t reuse passwords or you’re putting yourself at risk.
For people who don’t want to use a password manager—well, that’s why SIgn in With Google, Facebook, and Apple are so convenient. If you know someone that absolutely won’t use a password manager, it’s a lot better to have them signing in with a secure main Google, Facebook, or Apple account rather than reusing the same passwords on different websites.
Signing in with other types of accounts would also be fine, but other such services are less widespread. For example, some services like your sign in with a Twitter account, but many more services support Facebook and Google accounts.
RELATED: Why You Should Use a Password Manager, and How to Get Started
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