Eventually, Google and other big tech companies want dispense with passwords completely, but until that day comes, a Google Password Manager feature called on-device encryption might be your best bet for protecting your precious codes. Although quietly came out before this springas you can now easily access Google Password Manager on your android home screennow is a good time to check outside. The feature is available for Android, iOS, and Chrome, and is designed to help users keep their information safe from prying eyes, including Google.
What is encryption on the device?
In short: On-device encryption adds an extra layer of protection and privacy to Google Password Manager by giving you sole possession of the encryption key that encrypts and decrypts the text of your PWs.
When it comes to encryption, “keys” are the tool used to lock and unlock information. Encryption hides data by encoding plain text or “plain text” into what is called “ciphertext”, which comes across as garbled and unreadable gibberish. However, that gibberish can be converted back to readable text using a “key”, which is a randomly generated string of information used to unlock the encryption.
Google Password Manager has traditionally retained a user’s password, storing it in the user’s Google account and using it to protect their passwords. However, with on-device encryption, the user’s key is stored on their actual device rather than in Google’s digital systems. The feature allows users to unlock their passwords using their Google password or using an eligible screen lock feature of their choice (PIN or a fingerprint or other biometric identifier). like google has put it, that means “no one but you will be able to access your passwords”. That includes Google!
Why you should set up account recovery
You can certainly see why this new feature has so much to offer.privacy benefitsbut there is also some potential drawbacks. For example, if you lose or forget your Google password or other feature-linked security mechanism, you’ll be in a world of pain. Why? Because then you won’t be able to access any of your other passwords either.
As there is some risk of this happening, Google strongly recommends that you set up some account recovery methods before enabling encryption on your device. You can read more about this by reading Google’s support page on the subject. here. Also important to note: Once encryption is added to the device, it apparently can’t be removed, so be sure to turn it on before turning it on.
How to configure encryption on the Google Password Manager device
So how do you set all this up? The process should be quite simple. For Android, you just have to do the following:
- Open password manager.
- Click Settings
- Play Set up encryption on the device.
That should be it. For the Chrome browser, the process is similarly simple:
- In the upper right corner, go to Plus.
- Select Settings.
- Paste passwords
- Select Set up encryption on the device.
For iOS, you will follow a similar procedure, but from the Google password web page. From there, simply click on settings and then “configure”. For more information on this new feature, you can refer to Google’s full article here.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily have to trust Google at all! For the truly paranoid, this might not be a bad thing to consider. you can always subscribe to another password manager like Keeper or Bitwarden and if that doesn’t suit your needs, you can always write down your passwords on a piece of paper. After all, it would be quite difficult to hack your laptop.