The quick answer is no, even though it's indeed tempting to store passwords in your browser. It not only autofills each time you want to access one of your accounts, but there are browsers like Chrome that will even create strong passwords for you. Letting the browser manage passwords may seem more productive than repeatedly entering them yourself – especially if you create complex passwords. However, the cost of being hasty is being less secure.
How Can People Access Passwords in My Browser?
Chromium-based browsers and Safari will ask for credentials to display the passwords in text. This means that anyone with the credentials can easily access any password stored in your browser. Worse still, if you don't have any credentials to begin with, the browser will show the passwords automatically without the need to enter a key.
Taking a different approach, Firefox uses low-level encryption where you can add a master password under its settings. Anyone who tries to access your passwords will need to enter that code first. However, if you forget to create this master password, someone can go in and display all your saved passwords in text with only a button click.
As you can see, it's quite easy for anyone using your computer to view all your passwords in a matter of seconds, whether that person is physically at your computer or a remote hacker who has gained control of it. In fact, even if they don't know your computer credentials it's still relatively simple for them to find your passwords.
Getting Passwords by Inspecting Elements
Besides storing passwords, browsers typically come with the autofill setting enabled, which means that when entering text on a website, both your password and profile will be introduced and ready to log you in. Although your password will be hidden, someone with a minimum knowledge of coding can inspect the elements of the password field and change its content type from “password” to “text” and voila: your password is no longer hidden.
Where to Store and Protect Passwords
There are other, more reliable ways to store your passwords than just letting your browser handle it. Password manager browser extensions are one option. They offer better protection due to stronger encryption standards. However, they also enable autofill, which as we have already seen is not entirely secure.
Nevertheless, password managers by themselves are a solid choice. You can add all your profiles to your account and generate strong passwords with one click. Though not as convenient as autofill, it's possible to copy and paste passwords in only a few seconds.
Of course, never save your password manager key in the browser or any other digital place. It’s better to write it on a piece of paper and keep it in a safe place. Paper is, in fact, the very best way to save your passwords without the risk of being hacked. You can always write all your passwords in a password organizer book and keep it in a safe place that’s inaccessible to others. Of course, this is also the least convenient option, but depending on your priorities it can be the best way to go.
Whichever method you decide to follow, an excellent step towards greater security is always to enable two-factor authentication when that option exists. It's a great way to ensure that if someone tries to access your account from an unusual location or device, they will be blocked – even if they have your password. Moreover, the notification you’ll receive indicates that your password has been breached and it's time to change it.