Are Password Managers a Single Point of Failure?

Password managers are prone to fail. Review your use of password managers. You don't want to lose all your online IDs, do you?

More than 20% of the companies have their passwords written on a whiteboard on their walls. As humans, we tend not to step out of our comfort zones. And as mundane as it may seem, memorizing is a very complex task. Much like password-blasting office whiteboards, we save our passwords in weird places too. The companies that came up with password managers realized this early on.

What Are Password Managers?

Password managers are a means to save your precious time and energy. Remembering passwords is a nuisance and coming up with suitable ones is even more. So, oftentimes, we just come up with iterations of the same password for ease.

I, myself, despise this aspect of the internet a lot and wonder if password vaults are the solution we’ve been looking for.

So what exactly is it?

A password manager is essentially a digital 'wallet'. It is software to keep your passwords in one place and accessible at all times. And like the latch on your wallet, the master password is what allows you entry to your passwords - a kind of password to access other passwords. So instead of memorizing several passes for all the different online accounts, you only have to remember one.

Password managers encrypt the data they store. This means that the data saved looks like alien language to anyone who tries to hack into your account. This adds a solid level of security for your benefit.

Now that you’re familiar with what password managers are, you might be feeling curious about its intricacies. Let me guide you through them.

Features of Password Managers

Password managers have the following merits, which may or may not be present in all password managers:

  • Web page and password-violation indicators.
  • Syncing across many devices.
  • Circle of relatives-sharing.
  • Help to change out-of-date passwords.
  • Encrypted storage vaults of your sensitive records
  • Safety queries and answers.
  • Two-factor or multi-factor confirmation
  • Fingerprint and facial recognition.

To Trust Or Not To Trust

The good news is that a single software keeps all your sensitive data. The bad news is that a single software keeps all your sensitive data. See what I mean? On the surface, the idea of these ‘wallets’ seems like a perfect idea. However, wallets get stolen, lost, or forgotten. There are always many cons to such software.

There are many password managers that you will find in the market because they're easy to code but few of these digital vaults are as good as they advertise. Such flimsy sites are harmful to your well-deserved privacy. Let me give you all the reasons ‘why you should not trust password managers.’

Definite reasons why password managers are a single point of failure

Integrity Issues

Nowadays, most of our lives are online. Whether it’s for work, studies, or social media accounts, we have several online accounts that contain our personal information. There are many password manager software that guarantee 100% security but fail to actually provide it.

These sites are prone to be hacked since those people (hackers) are well aware that just getting into a password manager will give them access to much more. Even if it’s a 1% risk, are you willing to take it?

There were even security flaws found in popular password manager sites in 2020.

The Backup Problem

Only a handful of data vaults provide backup for your data. If the system breaks down, which isn't very unlikely, you can lose all your passwords. There is no easy solution to this particular problem.

You can methodically write down your passwords or use another password manager as a backup for your original password manager. It is a hassle and I, personally, feel tired just thinking about it. The current leading sites offer an un-encrypted backup, which sounds like a peril. You can see more about this particular aspect here.

Master Password At Risk

Another problem with password managers is the nature of their security. Think of it like this: if you need a bodyguard, they need to be strong themselves. If your bodyguards have the same weaknesses as you, they’re more of a liability than a guard.

There's a similar issue with password managers. They secure your passwords with a password. It's possible that you make the most cryptic and complex passwords out there. Yet, hackers still find a surprisingly large number of ways to get it. Thus, password managers need to have a unique access key.

Many password managers are still stuck on a password instead of employing other, more secure methods. If by any chance, a wrong person gets hold of your master password, it could lead to a catastrophe. Who really wants their accounts to be vulnerable like that?

The credibility of Password Managers

As more and more matters are handled through the internet there are thousands of websites popping up that require signing up. As a result, many password managers are being created to help with the passwords of these sites. Very few of these can be truly trusted to keep your information safe.

Ensuring credibility is of utmost importance lest you get scammed and have your information stolen! Unfortunately, there is no easy way of checking how trustworthy software is and we just end up choosing those that are more popular.

Reasons to use a password manager

Trusting some software with delicate information is not something you should do blindly. Hacking and distribution of private information is the most prevalent cybercrime nowadays. Yet, not trusting a software designed to protect and generate your passwords is a much more vulnerable option.

We often use passwords that can only be described as very personal yet very predictable. They range from birth dates and names to names or birth dates of things and people we love in 99% of the cases. These kinds of passes are a liability to your online safety and protection.

You know when you’re creating an account somewhere and it keeps telling you the password you have decided is not ‘strong’ and you have to rack your brains for something strong enough. Yet they keep rejecting your attempts. It’s annoying, isn’t it? Much like cars that save you the hassle of walking and elevators that let you reach heights with ease, password managers come up with strong and impenetrable passwords for you with just one click.

How do you remember all your passwords? Do you also click on ‘forgot password’ and go through that excruciating process when you can’t remember? Everything is at your fingertips now and almost all of your sensitive information like bank transactions, work-related things and much more is online.

So why not trust software to protect it all? Who can do it better?

Certainly not writing all your passwords on paper or saving them as a document on your computer: sure-fire ways of having them get stolen.

Safety and master passwords

Master passwords are the key to all your information here.

Top-tier ideas include biometric verifications, retinal scans, facial scans, and voice recognition. While there are ways to manipulate these verifications, they provide a security barrier tailored to your physical traits. People may guess your birth date or pet name yet it is nearly impossible to be you, have your fingerprints or retinal morphology. Many password manager sites have this option for complete fortification.

They also provide the most straightforward suggestion of securing your password with two-factor or multifactor authentication. In case you don’t want to employ biometrics, these provide an extra level of security.

In case you want to use a password manager, here are a few good ones.

To sum up

Pros of Password managers

  • A good password manager helps you secure all your passwords; you only have to remember one master password.
  • It helps you in generating complex passwords.
  • It auto-fills passwords for you to save your time.
  • It provides more security than other options.

Cons of password managers

  • Single source of failure. If someone knows about your master password, they can access all your passwords.
  • Password managers are the first target of a hacker.
  • You can access them through one device at a time. So, if you’ve logged in through your PC, you can’t reap its benefits on your phone.
  • Internet connection is required to access them since they’re available offline.
  • Not all password managers are encrypted, making them easy to breach.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. You have the right to decide who to trust with your confidential information after carefully measuring the pros and cons. I hope this article helped in some way!