Passwords are obstacles to where we want to go. Not only are they annoying, but there are so many passwords to remember! So, where do you house them, and what company should you entrust them to?
Google Chrome does provide a safe and secure way to store your passwords. But so do other browsers and services. In order to determine which browser or service you should use, you must consider several questions before deciding where you should store your passwords, the most important being, do you trust the company behind the software?
Today, you would have a hard time using the internet for 20 minutes without the need to enter one of your numerous passwords at least once. There is no way around it. It seems that every online service we use requires a password.
Do you Trust Google with Your Passwords?
The Elephant in the Room
To the point, It all comes down to this one question, “Do you trust Google?” I’m not going to argue their trustworthiness. I will say, however, that they are in the business of gathering information. That’s what they do. That’s their business model.
Like it or not, Google already knows everything about you. Here’s a short list of things that Google already knows about you:
- Your name, gender and birth-date.
- Your phone numbers in your contact list.
- Google knows everything you have ever Googled.
- Google knows your driving habits and will even ask you if you would like. driving directions to where it thinks you want to go.
- Google know your hobbies and interests.
- Google knows the YouTube videos you have watched, and what you YouTube videos you have searched over the years.
- Google knows exactly where you have been for the last several years.
- Google knows your most private searches, even when you opted for “Incognito Mode”.
- Google knows where you stand politically.
- Google knows where you like to shop.
- Google knows who you bank with, and offers to save your credit card numbers for later use.
- Google knows the names of your kids, their ages, where they go to school.
- Google knows everything you have ever said when interacting with Google Assistant. Google even has recordings of your voice.
Need I go on? I think you get the point. Now, to be fair, if you use an Android phone, Google will know a LOT more about you than if you were to use an iPhone . . . unless, of course, you use *any* of Google’s services while using the iPhone.
Now, for those who think of Google as the big conglomerate who has too much power or and knows way too much about you; if you question whether or not you should trust Google with your passwords, I have one question for you. Do you ever watch YouTube videos, use Gmail, or Google Docs to write and edit your documents, or even Google Drive to store those documents? If the answer is yes to any of those services, or other services that they offer for that matter, then you already do trust Google with your private information, so why not entrust them with your passwords too?
Always Log Out After Every Session
All web browsers allow for auto complete. This is a feature of the browser that Will automatically complete the form in question, including usernames and passwords, your physical address, cell phone number and credit card information.
This private information is stored securely in the cloud, however, that very information is readily available if you have signed into the web browser, it’s self. The problem with this feature is that most people never log out of the application itself.
What could happen if you never logged out of any of your social media platforms, (some thing way too many people do), and happened to lose your phone? Whoever picked up your phone would have complete access to your social media accounts because you never logged out of them. This also applies to computers as well.
The same principle applies to web browsers. If for some reason you chose not log out of Google Chrome, for example, and someone were to pick up your phone and attempt to purchase something from Amazon.com, using the browser that you had not logged out of, all of your information would be available to make that purchase, including your name, mailing address and credit card information.
So, to protect yourself, make sure that you log out of that we browser so that your information is not freely available to anybody who happened to come across your phone or access your computer.
While it is true that if you password protect your phone, someone who happened to find your phone would not be able to get into it to access the browser and therefore would not be able to make purchases or access your personal information. Can the same be said for any and every computer that you ever access? Do you log out of the computer every time you use it?
What Company Will You Trust?
If for whatever reason, you don’t want to trust Google with your passwords, you will need to trust some company if, in fact, you want to electronically store your passwords. That company may be Google, Mozilla, Apple, or perhaps one of the smaller password manager companies that build products like 1Password, DashLane or LastPass.
Allow me just a moment to drive the point home. Does one just go out and decide to marry just anybody? Of course, not. They develop trust with that person over time, and only after they become convinced that the other person is worthy of getting know them better, do they then begin to make themselves vulnerable by sharing the intimate details of their life. Trust is the key factor in any relationship. The same is true with your online passwords.
You see, if you are going to manage your passwords using software, a web browser, or an online service, you will need to decide which company you can entrust your passwords to. But how do you know you which company you can trust?
There are several questions that you need to ask, and answer, before giving a company the keys to your most intimate online relationships. These passwords will grant one access to all of your social media accounts, online shopping accounts, not to mention your bank and credit cards.
You should be very careful in determining what company you will entrust those passwords to. Consider the following questions, and be honest with yourself when you answer these questions.
- Does this company have a reputation for embracing privacy no matter the consequences?
- Has this company *ever* (for any reason), had a security breach that exposed it’s customer’s private information?
- Is this company well known in the business and banking community?
- How long has this company been in business?
- Have the servers of this company every gone off line?
These are all questions that deal with the trustworthiness of the company that you are considering doing business with. If you cannot definitively answer all of these questions, then you need to find a company that offers better security, one that is worthy of your business.
Other Browser Alternatives
Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, FireFox, and Safari are some of the more popular web browsers on the market today. Each one of these web browsers have their strengths and weaknesses, but they all allow for you to save your passwords to their respective cloud servers. That allows the auto complete feature within the browser to work seamlessly, but only if you sign into the web browser itself.
Regardless of which browser you use, you must ask yourself, do you trust the company behind the software?
Password Managers to Consider
There are several password managers on the market today, but I only want to briefly mention the top three. They are 1Pasword, DashLane, and LastPass, (and not in any particular order). These are rock-solid products that have great reputations behind them. They all offer encryption and they only really differ in features and functionality. But that’s not our concern. Our concern is in the trustworthiness of the company behind the software product.
Though I have tried using all three password managers mentioned above, I found myself constantly asking the same questions each and every time I used them.
- How long will this company be in business?If they shut down, how will that affect my password?
- Has their business model changed?If so, how will that affect my passwords?
- Has their management changed hands?If so, how will that affect my passwords?
- Will they sell out to a competitor or perhaps to a different company altogether?If so, how will that affect my passwords?
Do I trust password managers? Sure, at this moment in time, yes, but I don’t know if the company will be around tomorrow, so I have to ask the same set of questions every day.
I don’t want to worry about that every day. I want to know that my passwords are secure both now, and well into the future without ever having to worry about it.
The question still remains. Do you trust the company behind the software?
What Do I Recommend?
Let’s be honest. If you use a web-browser, any web-browser, to an extent, you are placing your trust in the stated security of that web-browser. Likewise, if you use a Password Manager, to an extent, you are placing your trust in that Password Manager.
Though I use all three Desktop computer platforms, Windows, Linux and Mac, I have I hang an iPhone and an iPad, Apple Watch, and use my MacBook Pro as my primary desktop computer. Yes, I am part of the Apple ecosystem, but for good reason. Allow me to explain.
Apple Views Security as their Number One Priority
When it comes to passwords, the combination of numbers and letters that grant access to your most private personal information, I for one, want to ensure that my personal information is not only encrypted, (all services offer that), but that it is encrypted by a company that values my private personal information. How do I know that Apple “values” my personal information? Let me briefly tell you what sold me on Apple’s commitment to its customer’s privacy.
In an article found at basicomputertips.com, they write in an article entitled, “Why Apple?”. It reads as follows:
An incident that occurred December 2, 2015 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Californiaa, a married couple committed a mass shooting and an attempted bombing at Christmas party.
These terrorists killed 14 people and injured 22. Both of the terrorists were killed in a shootout four hours later. One of them was carrying an iPhone 5C, when they committed this act of terror, and that iPhone was the only potential lead that FBI had available at the time. Time was of the essence, and the FBI wanted to know if these terrorists had planned any other acts of terror, or if they were part of a bigger terror cell.
The FBI wanted to access the terrorist’s cell phone, but were not able to do so because it was locked. Because the FBI could not unlock it, they then asked the NSA (National Security Agency), to unlock it. But they too, could not hack into it. The FBI was running out of options. They finally asked Apple to create a new version of the operating system that they could use to install in the memory of the phone to bi-pass certain security features within the phone itself. Apple stuck with its decision not to “jailbreak” their own phone. They made this decision based on principle.
Even under intense pressure from the FBI, Apple refused to comply because of its commitment to never undermine the security features of any of their products. Not only is their integrity still intact, but they have gained an enormous amount of trust from consumers world-wide.
Think of it this way: If Apple won’t violate their own security protocols when asked by the FBI, out of respect for the privacy of a terrorist, they won’t violate your privacy either. That says something. It says a lot.
I couldn’t agree more.
My Passwords are Always with Me
Whenever I need to access a website on my Mac, iPad or iPhone, my passwords are only a faceprint or fingerprint away (yes, my iPhone and iPad grant access to websites by scanning my face). In fact, my Apple Watch will automatically unlock my MacBook for me. With my iPhone I can even pay for . . . . nearly anything, provided that it has an NFC reader by simply double pressing the side button on my phone and letting it scan my face. So secure, and yet so accessible.
But we are talking about web-browsers, so let’s talk about Safari. I actually prefer Firefox as a browser. I like the look and feel. I like the features and it’s simplicity.
I especially love that now with the release of iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, you can choose which browser you would like to use, and KeyChain (on the Mac), or Passwords (in iOS or iPad OS) will autofill for you when using a browser other than Safari.
Why do I trust Apple? Because they value my privacy. Because they have not been breached. Because all of their products can run the latest version of their respective operating systems the moment a patch or new version is released. When it comes to integrating security between hardware and software, nobody even comes close to what Apple has created. They are the standard that everyone else tries to attain to.
Is it safe to save Passwords in Google Chrome? Sure. But as I have shown, there are safer ways to store your passwords. You will need to decide which company you trust with your passwords that grant access to your most personal private information. I’ve made my decision.
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