One common feature offered by most browsers is the ability for you to save your passwords and login info. If you enter your login information, browsers will frequently prompt you to save the information. And it can be tempting: not only does this help you avoid needing to waste time entering your password each time you visit the site, but it also means you don’t have to remember your passwords constantly to gain access to your accounts. However, there are serious security vulnerabilities that you expose yourself to if you use this feature.

 

Did you know that anyone with access to your computer can view your saved passwords? Thats right, while your passwords are hidden while you autofill your information into a website, anyone who knows where to look can find them saved as simple text in your browser. While they are stored in different locations depending on your browser, a quick google search can tell you how to access any saved passwords on your browser. So not only will they have access to your account whilst on your computer (because of the autologin), but they can also view your password, and the username associated with it. This enables them to access your account anytime they want to in the future. Additionally, many people reuse their passwords. Despite warnings from security experts that each account should have a unique secure password, users are often complacent, and will reuse passwords over and over. This means that if someone finds out one of your passwords, they might have access to many or all of your different accounts. Choosing secure and separate passwords for each different account is the best way to make sure that a single breach will not be devastating.

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If you decide to use auto login features anyways, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, some browsers, such as firefox, allow you to set a password which will need to be entered before any of your saved passwords are viewed. While an intruder might gain access to your accounts, they will not actually know the password. Secondly, restrict access to your computer. Do not allow anyone you do not completely trust to have unsupervised access to your machine. If they do not have access to your machine, they cannot use your saved passwords. Log out of your computer after each use, and never have a public machine save your information.