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password managerSoftware installed in the user's computer, mobile device or in a physical unit that connects to a USB port. Password managers are built into Web browsers, and they are also available as a Web-based service, allowing for password retrieval from any computer, smartphone or tablet.
Advantage = Complex Passwords
The major advantage of password managers is that they allow storage of passwords far more complex than users typically make up, and a different one can be created automatically for each website. Without a password manager, even if users create a strong password with letters, digits and special characters, they often use the same one for multiple sites. If compromised, everything the user does online is exposed.
Disadvantage = One Location
Although passwords are encrypted by a password manager, a singular disadvantage is that all the passwords are in one place. Cloud-based managers would be likely targets for attacks as well, and password managers have been hacked. However, unless the encryption keys are discovered, the passwords remain hidden.
Password Manager and Personal PIN
One approach to making a password manager more secure is to add a secret PIN at the end of each automatically generated password. Users have to manually append that PIN each time, but the same PIN can be used. If the password manager were ever compromised, the attackers would not have the full password, because the appended PIN is known only to the user. See password.
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