Exclusive: Lots of us use password managers, but we still don’t really trust them

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With most of us amassing digital accounts all the time, password managers are a useful tool to help take the hassle out of keeping track of every single login and password we have.  

In an exclusive survey of a thousand people, TechRadar Pro found that three-quarters of users have at least one password manager to store our credentials, yet most do not seem overly confident in their abilities to keep these details safe.

A third of those surveyed used a combination of a dedicated manager and one integrated with their browser, while another third used just one of the two. A little over a tenth used two dedicated password managers, and a quarter didn’t use any manager at all.

Trust issues

When asked to score their trust in the security of password managers, the results were less than impressive. Six out of ten was the most common score, chosen by 144 people, closely followed by five and seven, chosen by 140 and 136 people respectively.

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / vladwel)

Perhaps these middling figures can be explained by the recent stories of prominent password managers being hacked, or maybe people are worried about the various privacy issues surrounding behemoths like Apple and Google, both of whom make it hard to resist using their respective proprietary mangers, if you happen to use any of their devices and/ or browsers. 

The results may also reflect the conflicted attitudes people have towards such companies. On the one hand, people may believe that tech giants must be keeping our passwords safe – aside from having the resources to maintain a strong security posture, it would be catastrophic PR for them to have some kind of major breach, given how much they have to lose. 

But on the other, there is plenty of mistrust around how such corporations do business, with the aforementioned privacy issues a real cause for concern for many.

However, analyzing the rest of the scores, more people did pick a rating between eight and ten than one and three – 284 to 215. Also, 110 gave these utilities a perfect ten, and 97 one out of ten.

Splitting the results down the middle, just under half of all respondents (43.6%) rated the trustworthiness of password managers between one and five, and just over half (54.6%) between six and ten.

The results also contradict a previous survey we conducted, where most respondents said they didn’t use a password manager. Another survey we conducted also found that most people don’t use password generators either – which are integrated with virtually all password managers, but there are standalone versions too. 

These two facts combined perhaps explain why so many people form bad password habits. In fact, there have been various reports on the state of passwords globally, and pretty much all of them arrive at the same conclusion – we need to do better with them.

However, this may be a moot point, given that passwordless systems are increasing in prominence, set to be the new technology securing our digital world. These include biometric systems – such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanners – passkeys and single sign on (SSO) technologies, which are available in many identity management software

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