Password Managers...


TheMystic

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When people talk of privacy and security, a whole range of apps are discussed and checked/ scrutinized for issues related to privacy, security and vulnerabilities. But the category of app that is the single biggest risk (which knows every single character you type) often escapes the level of scrutiny that it truly deserves - the Keyboard app!

Likewise, a lot is said and written about password managers, and most of it are almost always positives. This is one app that is actually holding all your passwords - and therefore a very very big privacy and security risk! These apps not only know your password, but also any pattern that you may be using in creating passwords (if not using random passwords generated by such apps themselves). You are basically giving an unknown company all your passwords, as well as how your mind works in creating them. There have been security breaches in most reputed companies and millions of users have been affected by such security breach.

This post is not about security breaches. Instead, this is about the risks of you handing over your passwords to an unknown entity. Let's discuss what you do to secure your passwords and therefore your accounts.

Here's what I do:

1. All my banking (or financial) passwords are in my memory. I don't use password manager for this purpose.
2. I have enabled 2FA (two factor authentication) for pretty much all my accounts - email, cloud, social media, etc.
3. My password manager and 2FA apps are from different companies. This adds a layer of security to my accounts.
4. I don't use autofill service. Where required, I open the password manager, copy the password and then paste it in the password field. I do this for the following reasons:
  • I don't want the password manager to have direct access to the password field.
  • The passwords I save in the password manager are not the full passwords. My actual passwords are different (in that they have some additional/ missing characters) from the ones stored in my password manager. I add/ delete a few characters by following a certain methodology for each account somewhere in the passwords saved in the password manager. These characters (or string) could be added, for example, after a certain number of characters in the passwords stored in the password manager. Whatever logic or methodology is followed (which obviously I can't disclose; all i can say is it is unique and very unlikely to be forgotten), the resulting string of characters could be added after the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on character in the passwords stored in the password manager, or they could occupy alternate places, or follow some other pattern. A similar exercise is followed if characters are deleted. Since there is a methodology followed, there is no way I can forget to arrive at the actual password. This way, I am able to use password managers to manage tens of accounts without actually giving them away to another entity.
  • Copy-pasting passwords (or more correctly, partial passwords) also help in protecting against keyloggers, if present.

I hope I have been able to explain the process.

What do you do to secure your passwords?
 
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Chrome, Hackers are not too bothered about small fish like me. Norton has a very efficient one built in but It's easier to save with one click with Chrome.
 

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TheMystic

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Chrome, Hackers are not too bothered about small fish like me. Norton has a very efficient one built in but It's easier to save with one click with Chrome.
But I don't think you would recommend that to others, even if everyone is just as small or even a smaller fish than you.
 

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No financials stored at all, I have used Dashlane for all other for years.
 

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Archigos

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I've tried a few password managers over the years, but I always keep going back to 1Password and sticking with them.
 

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Quandary

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You are starting out with an incorrect view on many (most?) password managers. The master password is encrypted when it is stored so the "company" does not know what it is. The vault containing your passwords is encrypted, and the app on on your PC or smartphone takes the password supplied, encrypts it and then compares the result to what was stored. Decrypting the stored password is virtually impossible if a strong and long password was used.

Also, using 2FA to access your password manager to then access the vault makes the protection level even higher.

But do/use what you feel provides the protection needed for your situation.
 

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The-Hive

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But I don't think you would recommend that to others, even if everyone is just as small or even a smaller fish than you.
I think Chrome is safe enough, but I don't have anything of interest stored on my pc
 

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TheMystic

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glasskuter

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Ardent Roboform user for many years here. My master password is so long and complicated one app said it would take brute force 120 million years to crack it. Even if it was cracked I have nothing of any use to anyone. So if y'all see any naked photos posted here under my user name, you know my 120 mil. years are up.
 

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Hollywood

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My actual passwords are different (in that they have some additional/ missing characters) from the ones stored in my password manager. I add/ delete a few characters by following a certain methodology for each account somewhere in the passwords saved in the password manager. These characters (or string) could be aded, for example, after a certain number of characters in the passwords stored in the password manager.
That's a good idea!
There is a lot of things you can do to protect privacy and security. You should have a trusted internet provider, and maybe a trusted VPN and firewall. You have to trust your web browser and operating system. I have a friend that insists that the US government mandated that they have backdoor access to any and all encryption. That could be true or a story to make people paranoid. Even if so, at what level would that be, the local police, state police, feds? I have great firewall program, Comodo Firewall. It is from a Chinese company. To be honest I don't think there is anymore reason to worry then a US brand of software.

On Windows we have a lot of ways to protect our data with encryption programs out there and those built into Windows and browsers, but my biggest concern would be a key stroke logger that could capture your passwords.

I am NOT an expert, but my understanding is that input that is pasted is treated different then inputted by the keyboard. If so, your method seems like a good extra step.

You have to weigh the need for security vrs ease of use. Most of us have a lot of online accounts so we have a lot of passwords. I also do not have my financial passwords saved, but who knows if something is capturing them. It could even be a camera in a room.

I reinstall Windows about twice a year because I like to weed out anything that might have made it into the system (and I like doing it :)). Other that that just be careful what you install or sites you visit, but all you can do is the best you can.
 

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glasskuter

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I reinstall Windows about twice a year
I have way too much stuff to do that. Instead I install a base copy of Windows, working drivers, my settings,and my many apps with everything updated up until that point. I then image it, and store the image away from all my other images. Then about once a year I restore the base image, let the apps and Windows do their thing with updating and I'm back brand spanking new again. I have all my personal files stored on a seconday drive so they are current regardless. It surely beats having to go through the entire clean install process every time.
 

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Hollywood

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I have way too much stuff to do that. Instead I install a base copy of Windows, working drivers, my settings,and my many apps with everything updated up until that point. I then image it, and store the image away from all my other images. Then about once a year I restore the base image, let the apps and Windows do their thing with updating and I'm back brand spanking new again. I have all my personal files stored on a seconday drive so they are current regardless. It surely beats having to go through the entire clean install process every time.
Ha, much of what we do is similar. I also save all my data on a separate drive too, many of my tweaks are documented and ready to go when I reinstall, and much of my software is installed as "portable" in my AppData\Roaming folder. Many of us have our own ways we do things and I'm glad we share some of our methods here. Like the OP, certain things are held back for privacy reasons but I get the idea anyway. Aside from just being careful, I like having a few methods that different then others to make it just a bit harder to hack me, just like I hope the security cameras around my house mite make a burgler skip mine and go somewhere else.
 

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Quandary

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No, I'm not.

Not true. That's what they want you to think/ believe.

Not true. Depends on what tools and technologies you have for decryption.
I would be interested in seeing some references, public audits, or disclosures to support your views.

There are many posting to the contrary (no need for me to include those links). However, I will agree that lack of evidence does not prove anything. Until then I will continue storing all my important passwords in a PM along with 2FA.
 

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TheMystic

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I have a friend that insists that the US government mandated that they have backdoor access to any and all encryption.
That's true. I agree 100%. The US wants a share in everybody's pie. They also like to keep an eye and ear on everyone.
I am NOT an expert, but my understanding is that input that is pasted is treated different then inputted by the keyboard. If so, your method seems like a good extra step.
Good point. Thanks. I'll add that to the OP.
 

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TheMystic

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I would be interested in seeing some references, public audits, or disclosures to support your views.

There are many posting to the contrary (no need for me to include those links).
You have answered yourself here:
However, I will agree that lack of evidence does not prove anything.

A famous industrialist's son was involved in a car accident. The matter was in some local news for just a few hours. All the mainstream media was silent and in less than 24 hours, no one even whispered about it. There was no trace of the incident anywhere in the media, print or otherwise. And media-persons still move around calling themselves 'journalists'.

A country's military and intelligence are estimated to be atleast 20 years ahead in terms of the technology they have compared to what is commercially available, or even known. So when companies claim that their products cannot be hacked, they know they are lying. And a few others know that too. If Jeff Bezos' iPhone can be hacked, you know everything is possible in tech.

Just because paid and sponsored media (which pretty much covers everything we see and read) doesn't talk of or know that something is possible, it doesn't mean it isn't possible. :)
 

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DigitalGoat

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Paper and pen, 100% hack proof, and routinely changing passwords used for important logins.
And yes there is always a chance someone breaks in and steals your notebook, but you simply use a cipher system.
As for the method of copy/ paste, don't rely on that since a lot of keyloggers also monitor the clipboard since almost every app for Windows (including your browser) has access to the clipboard and the data contained in it tends to persist between app swaps. Even pasting a partial string is not effective as at some point you need to either type the missing characters or paste them to complete the password.
The view that companies offering password managers and VPNs tell you one thing, but do another, is reliant on local practices and enforcement to a large extent. Most EU based companies are independently audited to determine whether they are holding data in the method claimed and according to consumer data protection laws.
There are instances of VPN companies (even a well known and popular one) holding connection logs even though claiming to not do so, there are others of password manager companies holding passwords in unencrypted form and even a fair few online retailers and services have been found to hold customer data in unencrypted databases.
Keeping as much data as possible away from connected devices is the safest method possible and what data needs to be used on connected devices needs to be vetted extremely carefully.
Relying on 3rd parties to keep your important information safe can be a recipe for disaster, but this can be mitigated to some extent by being cautious about what you share.
 

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TairikuOkami

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Whatever password manager you use, make sure that autofill is disabled by default, so the user's interaction only.
For example Bitwarden allows you to do it, it is one more click, but it is prevents scripts from stealing your passwords.
That is the reason I started to use Edge's password manager, because it requires UAC/PIN on a secure desktop for autofill.

capture_01232022_122007.jpg

Instead, this is about the risks of you handing over your passwords to an unknown entity.
Yes, trust is important, like with emails or AV. I use MS so it can as well handle my passwords.
People can also choose an offline password manager like Keepass, preferably open source.

What do you do to secure your passwords?
I store core passwords in a double encrypted document. Core passwords as for emails and such, because if hackers would gain access to emails, they could easily get access to any account via a password recovery. I have password check for leaks disabled, obviously.

Copy-pasting passwords (or more correctly, partial passwords) also help in protecting against keyloggers, if present.
Not really, it is a basic feature of any keylogger to grab clipboard (as well as screenshots), Keepass uses TCATO to fight it. Then again, if you use it, make sure to clear clipboard to prevent any webpage from reading it via a simple javascript, simply copy any gibberish afterwards. Bitwarden allows to set the time limit after which it is cleared automatically.
 

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Dark Knight

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Bitwarden 2FA

I Never store financials anywhere on pc or password manager
I Never store personal information on pc or password manager
Main email account is not stored in the manager

Password manager is strictly used just to log into websites

To go as far as having a password manager to just copy and paste your login info into a website , well ........ whats the use ? you might as well just write your login info on a piece of paper in my opinion. If your afraid of keyloggers install an anti key logger, Zemana is a pretty good one.
 

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Windows 11 build 10.0.22581.100
You have answered yourself here:


A famous industrialist's son was involved in a car accident. The matter was in some local news for just a few hours. All the mainstream media was silent and in less than 24 hours, no one even whispered about it. There was no trace of the incident anywhere in the media, print or otherwise. And media-persons still move around calling themselves 'journalists'.

A country's military and intelligence are estimated to be atleast 20 years ahead in terms of the technology they have compared to what is commercially available, or even known. So when companies claim that their products cannot be hacked, they know they are lying. And a few others know that too. If Jeff Bezos' iPhone can be hacked, you know everything is possible in tech.

Just because paid and sponsored media (which pretty much covers everything we see and read) doesn't talk of or know that something is possible, it doesn't mean it isn't possible. :)
How is that tinfoil hat these days?
 

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  • OS
    Windows 11 build 10.0.22581.100
    Computer type
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    Microsoft Surface Pro 7
    CPU
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    Memory
    8GB
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TheMystic

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Paper and pen, 100% hack proof
True. But easy to lose. And very inconvenient given what we have been used to.
routinely changing passwords used for important logins
My banks keep forcing me to change my passwords once every 120 days or so. And I keep forgetting them, so I have to use password reset each time. Can't afford this kind of inconvenience for the tens of accounts I have. So password managers provide some convenience in that respect.
Most EU based companies are independently audited to determine whether they are holding data in the method claimed and according to consumer data protection laws.
Large corporations often perform cost-benefit analysis for non-compliance and they have influential lobbies to make sure laws have sufficient safeguards (aka loopholes) in place for them.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
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    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
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