Integrated Password Managers – Google Smart Lock

We are advocates of using a password manager to create, manage, and securely store the dozens (or hundreds) of unique and long passwords that we need to be using these days.  For many people, password managers can seem difficult to set up and a bit of a hassle to use.  The good news its that there are two easy and built-in alternatives, Google Smart Lock and Apple iCloud Keychain.  Today we will look at Smart Lock.  On Friday we will explore Keychain.

Google Smart Lock works with Android phones, the Chrome browser and apps, and with Chromebooks.  It works by capturing your password you enter on your device, and store them in encrypted form in the cloud.  Then when you return to a website or app, Smart Lock fills in the user and password information for you.

Smart Lock does not have all the features that a full-fledged password manager will have, but it is pretty much set up for you by default.  You may be using it already without knowing it.  I took a look passwords.google.com and found out I already had a bunch I wasn’t aware of myself.  While I was there, I turned Smart Lock on.  Go and do likewise.

Previously, if you had asked me if it was safe to let a browser remember your passwords for you, I would have answered “no.”  In the specific case of Chrome, I would change that answer to a qualified “yes.”  Just remember, if your device is lost or stolen, and the finder or thief can start or open it without a password or passcode, they will be able to log in to all your saved sites, as your user name and password will autofill just as easily for the stranger as for you.  That’s why all my devices are password protected at startup.  Yours should be too.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, Bob also conducts security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. Bob also teaches Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. Bob works as an instruction for CompTIA’s non-profit IT-Ready Program in the Twin Cities. IT-Ready is a tuition free 8-week program designed to teach students of all ages the fundamentals of IT support to prepare them for an entry level position in Information Technology Support. Graduates of the classes take the exams to become CompTIA A+ certified. Bob is a frequent speaker at conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. Bob has been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com

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