Web Browsers vs. Password Managers: What Is Better?

Have you ever noticed your browser offering you “to save” the password you’ve just entered to access your online banking or another account? If you’ve ever clicked yes, then your login credentials are already stored in the browser. Saving passwords for future use is convenient, but built-in browser password managers are not always the safest. Let’s compare them to independent third-party password managers, like NordPass.

Security

Your passwords are of extreme value. They are the keys to your most vulnerable data, which in the wrong hands could lead to hacked accounts, stolen money, or even compromised identity. So it’s no surprise that the security of a password manager should be your top priority.

1. Encryption

Encryption algorithms are mathematical formulas that scramble your data and make it look like gibberish, so even if hackers get hold of your passwords, they won’t be able to see them without a decryption key. The stronger the encryption algorithm, the less likely it is that anyone will be able to see your passwords.

Here’s the difference between the built-in browser password managers and third-party products. The former is usually just an add-on, which is supposed to simplify your browsing experience. It’s not built with security at its forefront. Some do use relatively strong encryption, like the recognized industry-standard AES256. But some give users vague statements about data being encrypted with no explanation of how it’s done or where it’s stored.

NordPass, on the other hand, was built using one of the latest encryption algorithms, XChaCha20. It has been praised by Silicon Valley giants and recognized as the future of encryption. It’s also faster and safer than AES256.

2. Storage

Now, strong encryption is half of the battle. Where your passwords are stored is equally important. Both types of password managers usually store your data in the cloud, which isn’t the most secure. Many platforms that use the cloud, including the Opera browser password manager, have been hacked in the past.

What distinguishes a really good password manager from a mediocre one is how they protect you from such events. One such option is to encrypt your passwords on your device before they reach the cloud, as NordPass does. This means that even if someone hacks into the cloud, they won’t get anything as they’d need your device to decrypt your passwords. Such a security measure is called a zero-knowledge architecture, which means that only you can access and manage your passwords.

3. Sign-in process

The sign-in process is another key factor that can make or break your security. Most password managers will offer you to create a Master Password — the main password you’ll need to remember to access other items. However, security issues arise if a password manager doesn’t even ask you for it, like some browsers. This means that a hacker or even a friend who gets access to your device physically or remotely could see your passwords without knowing your Master Password.

If a Master Password is in place, not all browser password managers will offer you extra security features like two-factor authentication, sign-in with biometrics, or the ability to log you out after a period of inactivity. NordPass includes all of the security features mentioned above.

4. Other security features

As third-party password managers are built for one purpose only — to protect and store your passwords, they aim to help you make your accounts as secure as possible. They will include extra security features such as built-in password generators and password strength checkers; they will even notify you if you used the same password before or if it has appeared in a recent breach.

Browser password managers are slowly introducing similar features into their platforms; however, their counterparts are designing new ones. It’s a continuous race, and it appears that browsers will continue falling behind for the time being.

Accessibility and convenience

Second, the most important thing is, of course, convenience. No one wants to use a super-secure product if it doesn’t serve its purpose and isn’t easy to use.

When it comes to browsing only, both types of password managers are convenient. They help you log into your favorite platforms with a click, so there’s no need to type or remember anything. But do browsers remember your Wi-Fi code, your health tracking apps passcode, or your laptop’s password? No, they aren’t usually built to be cross-functional or cross-platform.

Third-party managers, on the other hand, can be used as browser extensions on most popular browsers, on desktop, mobile, and even online. You can use NordPass on as many devices as you wish as your passwords will sync across them all, so you could access passwords whenever you need them. NordPass Premium users can have up to 6 active sessions, meaning they can use NordPass on that many devices at the same time without the need to log back in.

Price

But browser password managers are free, and third-party apps are not, you say. Not always. Most non-browser password managers offer free versions. They give you all the necessary features without compromising your security. With NordPass Free, you can do equally as much and more than with a browser password manager.

But it’s so difficult to switch, you say

Of course, once you invest the time and energy building up your password vault on one platform, switching might be difficult. However, it doesn’t have to be. NordPass has an import feature that allows you to upload passwords from other password managers in bulk. When you are ready to switch, follow our step-by-step instructions. You can also check these guides to help you find your passwords on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

The verdict

Using browser password managers isn’t all evil. They are better than not using any password manager at all. This way, you can at least create unique passwords for all accounts and not reuse them, which is the most common reason why accounts get hacked.

However, by using built-in browser managers, you compromise your security. Remember that these platforms were built for convenience. They are not security-based solutions. You also won’t be able to use such a password manager across multiple platforms or devices. They won’t offer you extra features such as password sharing, password generator, and the ability to store secure notes.

We might be biased, but we take the side of independent password managers, like NordPass.

Move your passwords to NordPass today and enjoy security, simplicity, and convenience.

Benjamin Scott
Verified author
Ben is our tech geek. He analyses difficult topics and brings them to the reader in a nice and simple language. In his free time, he loves to compete, so he likes to participate in various marathons and triathlons.
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