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The 7 Best Sites to Securely Download Safe Mac Apps

Mac software is not immune to security problems. Third-party apps can harbor malware, spyware, adware, ransomware, and numerous other security-based threats.

As such, you need to make sure you only download Mac apps from safe, secure, and trustworthy websites. Here are some of the safest sites to download Mac software.

Analyzing Site Security

When we looked at the safest free software sites for Windows


The Safest Free Software Download Sites for Windows




The Safest Free Software Download Sites for Windows

Many software download sites are loaded with malware. We compiled websites you can trust when you need a free software download.
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, we ran each site through two reputation checkers—Web of Trust (WOT) and URLVoid.

We’re going to apply the same philosophy in this article. Web of Trust provides a trustworthiness score out of 100 while URLVoid grades each site out of 36.

macupdate secure mac downloads

WOT Trustworthiness: 91/100
URLVoid Rating: 36/36

MacUpdate is one of the most popular websites to download Mac software safely. It has a library of more than 40,000 apps. By comparison, the official Mac App Store only has about 15,000 apps available.

All the apps in the library have been hand-picked by the site’s team of experts, so you can be confident they’ve all gone through a full vetting process.

MacUpdate can also save you money. Every day, there’s an “App of the Day” with a 50 percent discount. Occasionally, you can find discounts that run as high as 90 percent.

Navigating the site is easy; all the apps are divided between 10 well-defined categories. They are Internet, Utilities, Drivers, Games, Education, Home, Business, Multimedia Design, Development, and Graphics and Design.

softpedia secure mac downloads

WOT Trustworthiness: 93/100
URLVoid Rating: 36/36

Softpedia is one of the largest software download sites on the web. Unsurprisingly, it has an entire section dedicated to Mac apps.

The download files are updated every day, so you can be sure you’re always getting the latest available version. Using up-to-date versions is critical for avoiding security bugs and flaws.

Many apps are also tagged with the “Softpedia Secure Download” label. It means the download is coming directly from Softpedia’s servers, all of which are regularly tested for viruses and other malware.

Softpedia also has user reviews for many of the available apps. They can provide insight on any issues you may encounter during use.

pure mac secure mac downloads

WOT Trustworthiness: 92/100
URLVoid Rating: 36/36

If you can look past the slightly dated visuals, Pure Mac is another of the most secure sites to download Mac software and apps.

The site boasts one of the most extensive selections of categories; there are more than 80 to choose from. The large number of groups means the site is excellent for finding a Mac app to perform a particular function.

On the downside, Pure Mac does not run its own download servers. All the downloads on the site are direct links that the app’s publisher or developer has provided. Remember, using one of the best anti-virus apps for Mac


The 7 Best Truly Free Antivirus Software for Mac




The 7 Best Truly Free Antivirus Software for Mac

Viruses and security issues abound, even on Mac. It’s critical that you use a free antivirus for Mac, no matter how smart you are.
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can help to catch any malware-laden downloads you encounter.

cnet download best mac download sites

WOT Trustworthiness: 90/100
URLVoid Rating: 36/36

CNET’s Download.com is another of the web’s largest collections of apps. Like Softpedia, it covers all the major operating systems, including macOS. In total, the site offers more than 150,000 free downloads.

All the Mac software on the site goes through a rigorous testing procedure to check for malware and other viruses.

Download.com also bans any apps that:

  • Don’t have easy-to-read end-user license agreements.
  • Modifies default browsers, search-engine home pages, or other security settings.
  • Send information about your computer usage habits to the developer without prior notification.

Because it’s part of CNET, many of the Mac apps you can download have editorial reviews, accompanying blog posts, and how-to articles. They combine to make sure that not only is the initial download safe, but that you also use the software in a safe and secure way once it’s on your system.

macapps safe mac downloads

WOT Trustworthiness: Not Ranked
URLVoid Rating: 36/36

If you’ve ever bought a new Windows machine, you may be familiar with Ninite. It provides a comprehensive list of many of the most popular Windows apps across a range of categories. You can choose the ones you want, then download them in bulk via a custom installer. It can save hours during the system setup phase.

Sadly, Ninite does not provide a solution for Macs—but there is an alternative: MacApps. The software is divided into seven categories: internet, Productivity, Developer, Tools, Utilities, Multimedia, and Messaging. There are download links for all the apps you probably use every day, including Spotify, GitHub, Docker, Evernote, Firefox, Chrome, and many more. In total, there are more than 120 apps to choose from.

To use the tool, select the apps you want from the list, and MacApps will provide you with a custom Terminal command. Paste the command into the Terminal app, and the download will begin.

mac app store safe mac download

WOT Trustworthiness: 92/100
URLVoid Rating: 36/36

Of course, if you want to avoid third-party Mac software sites entirely, you could just head to the official Mac App Store. In theory, it has highly robust processes to prevent malicious apps from finding their way into the listings.

But contrary to popular belief, the Mac App Store isn’t bulletproof from a security standpoint. Some bad stuff does sneak through.

For example, in September 2018, Malwarebytes discovered multiple apps were collecting sensitive user data and uploading it to servers controlled by the developer. In many cases, the servers were in China. Amazingly, one of the apps—Adware Doctor—was number one in the chart for paid utilities until the research was made public.

7. Download Directly From the Developer

It’s easy to understand why sites which curate libraries of Mac app downloads are popular. They save time, offer unbiased reviews, and allow you to download older versions of software to get rid of unwanted new features.

But none of the sites we’ve looked at are perfect. If Apple can’t even keep bad actors out of its own store, you can be sure that some malicious software makes its way onto the other platforms as well.

The most reliable way to safely and securely download Mac apps, therefore, is to head to the developers’ own sites and download the file directly. Just beware of phishing attacks for the most popular software!

Learn More About Downloading Safely

As long as you take reasonable precautions while downloading Mac apps, you should be safe. All the usual advice applies— don’t download pirated or cracked apps, don’t use unknown mirrors, don’t use third-party installers, and run an anti-virus at all times.

If you’d like to learn more about safely downloading from the web, make sure you read our article on the safest places to download free apps


5 Safe and Clean Places to Download Free Apps




5 Safe and Clean Places to Download Free Apps

Finding clean downloads of open source software, and other free software can be tricky. Here are five safe places to get clean software installers and updates for a wide variety of free programs.
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The 4 Best Document Safes to Keep Your Important Crap, Well, Safe – Review Geek

An opened document safeSteve Heap/Shutterstock.com

Getting a new copy of your birth certificate or social security card from the DMV can feel like a little taste of purgatory. A document safe will protect your important papers from damage, fire, and theft making extra sure you won’t be waiting six hours for your number to be called.

What to Look for in a Document Safe

Lots of document safes on the market claim protection from different things. You’ll want to make sure the safe you purchase offers the protection and capacity that fit your needs.

  • Protection: A good safe protects its contents from being damaged or destroyed whether its dropped, soaked, or burned. Document safes need to be fire-resistant and last around 30 minutes to an hour when engulfed in a fire. Safes should also be capable of being fully submerged in water without leaking.
  • Capacity: Document safes don’t need to be particularly big. They aren’t designed to hold rifles or mountains of gold bars. The safe should be able to fit normal sized paper (Letter, A4, Legal) and other little things like CDs and USBs, but it doesn’t need to be much bigger than that. Some document safes are designed like filing cabinets, with a hanging file system for an easy way to organize all your sensitive information.
  • Lock Security: A safe needs to protect your stuff from fire and water, but safes also have locks for a reason. There are many different kinds of locks on safes, and some are less secure than others. A normal key-locked safe will be cheaper but easy to pick if given enough time and physical access. Keypads and fingerprint scanners are more secure but can be expensive and hard to find on small document safes.

A Word on In-Wall Safes

In-wall safes can be an attractive option because they don’t take up any floor or closet space and can be easily hidden behind a painting or poster. However, most options available tend to be very bad at protecting your documents from natural disasters.

An in-wall safe needs to have multiple holes (usually at least four) for mounting the safe in-between two wall studs. Having these holes means that in the event of a fire or a flood, everything in your safe is likely to be damaged or destroyed. Fires don’t care if most of the safe is closed; the holes mean no insulation from the heat.

Some in-wall safes are built with an interior fire-liner, which means no holes lead directly into the cavity with your documents. This allows the safe to be fire resistant while still having mounting holes, but the safes that have this feature are hundreds of dollars.

If you’re not worried about water and fire resistance and just want to conceal your safe inside a wall, you can try one of these two from Paragon. Otherwise, because of the lack of water- and fire-resistance (or the high cost on models that do include this), we’re leaving them off of our list.

The Best Overall: Honeywell 1104

Honeywell 1104 Safe
Honeywell

The Honeywell 1104 is a durable safe that will protect all your documents from all kinds of harm. The safe is rated to last for an hour in fires up to 1,700° F and can be fully submerged as deep as 39 inches for up to 100 hours, keeping all the contents inside safe and dry. The weakest part of the safe is its standard key lock which can be picked, but that requires physical access, practice, and patience.

The 40-pound safe’s inside compartment is 14.8 inches by 12 inches and can fit all normal paper sizes (Letter, A4, Legal) without requiring you to fold or bend your documents. The safe has a depth of 3.8 inches, so even after it’s filled with documents, you should still have room for CDs, DVDs, USBs, and more.

The Best Choice

The Budget Pick: First Alert 2011F

First Alert 2011F Fire Chest
First Alert

The First Alert 2011F is a small fire chest that will protect your essentials in case of a fire. This small safe has a capacity of 0.17 cubic feet (inner dimensions 11.33 by 7.09 by 3.7 inches), so it’s perfect for keeping things like your social security card, birth certificate, and passport, but it won’t be able to fit full-sized sheets of paper without folding them.

The safe is fire resistant and rated for up to 30 minutes at 1,550 degrees. It’s also water-resistant, but not water-proof. It cannot be submerged, and if exposed to too much water, your documents will get wet and damaged. The safe is closed with a simple clamp style latch and locked with a key.

The Budget Pick

The Best Hanging File Safe: Honeywell 1108

Honeywell 1106
Honeywell

The Honeywell 1108 is a hanging file safe that will let you protect your documents while still keeping them organized. The 0.6 cubic feet of space can fit letter and legal documents along with other removable electronic media in its hanging file system, turning your safe into an extra protective filing cabinet.

This 53-pound safe is rated to last up to 30  minutes at 1,550° F, and it can also be submerged a meter underwater for up to 24 hours while still keeping all your documents dry. The safe has two latches on the sides and locks using a regular key—nothing too fancy.

The Best Hanging File Safe

The Best Biometric Safe: Amazon Basics Biometric Safe

AmazonBasics Biometric Fingerprint Home Safe
Amazon Basics

AmazonBasics makes a large line of safes in every size and lock type. This biometric safe can save and use up to 50 individual fingerprints to unlock the safe. The sensor takes less than a second to register and has a lifetime of around one million scans. The safe also comes with a backup key for emergencies in case the fingerprint sensor is malfunctioning.

The safe has a capacity of 0.5 cubic feet and has an inside shelf to separate all of your belongings. It is made of heavy-duty steel and locks with two large live-door bolts. The safe also has four holes on the back that let you mount it to a wall or floor, making it incredibly difficult to remove and steal. The thick steel casing, huge bolts, biometric scanner, and mounting holes make this the most secure safe on this list against theft, but this safe is NOT fire-resistant or waterproof. It will protect your documents and keep your sensitive information locked, but it cannot be submerged in water or engulfed in fire.

The Best Biometric Safe





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How Safe Are Public Charging Stations?

Hands using a phone plugged into a USB port at a charging station.
Kartinkin77/Shutterstock

These days, airports, fast-food restaurants, and even buses have USB charging stations. But are these public ports safe? If you use one, could your phone or tablet be hacked? We checked it out!

Some Experts Have Sounded the Alarm

Some experts think you should be concerned if you’ve used a public USB charging station. Earlier this year, researchers from IBM’s elite penetration testing team, X-Force Red, issued dire warnings about the risks associated with public charging stations.

“Plugging into a public USB port is kind of like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth,” said Caleb Barlow, the vice president of threat intelligence at X-Force Red. “You have no idea where that thing has been.”

Barlow points out that USB ports don’t merely convey power, they also transfer data between devices.

Modern devices put you in control. They aren’t supposed to accept data from a USB port without your permission—that’s why the “Trust This Computer?” prompt exists on iPhones. However, a security hole offers a way around this protection. That’s not true if you simply plug a trusted power brick into a standard electrical port. With a public USB port, though, you rely on a connection that can carry data.

With a bit of technological cunning, it’s possible to weaponize a USB port and push malware to a connected phone. This is particularly true if the device runs Android or an older version of iOS, and therefore, is behind on its security updates.

It all sounds scary, but are these warnings based on real-life concerns? I dug deeper to find out.

From Theory to Practice

A hand plugging a USB cord into a charging port on the back of an airline seat.
VTT Studio/Shutterstock

So, are USB-based attacks against mobile devices purely theoretical? The answer is an unambiguous no.

Security researchers have long regarded charging stations as a potential attack vector. In 2011, veteran infosec journalist, Brian Krebs, even coined the term “juice jacking” to describe exploits that take advantage of it. As mobile devices have inched toward mass-adoption, many researchers have focused on this one facet.

In 2011, the Wall of Sheep, a fringe event at the Defcon security conference, deployed charging booths that, when used, created a pop-up on the device that warned about the dangers of plugging into untrusted devices.

Two years later, at the Blackhat USA event, researchers from Georgia Tech demonstrated a tool that could masquerade as a charging station and install malware on a device running the then-latest version of iOS.

I could continue, but you get the idea. The most pertinent question is whether the discovery of “Juice Jacking” has translated into real-world attacks. This is where things get a bit murky.

Understanding the Risk

Despite “juice jacking” being a popular area of focus for security researchers, there are scarcely any documented examples of attackers weaponizing the approach. Most of the media coverage focuses on proofs-of-concept from researchers who work for institutions, like universities and information security firms. Most likely, this is because it’s inherently difficult to weaponize a public charging station.

To hack a public charging station, the attacker would have to obtain specific hardware (such as a miniature computer to deploy malware) and install it without getting caught. Try doing that in a busy international airport, where passengers are under intense scrutiny, and security confiscates tools, like screwdrivers, at check-in. The cost and risk make juice jacking fundamentally ill-suited for attacks aimed at the general public.

There’s also the argument that these attacks are relatively inefficient. They can only infect devices that are plugged into a charging socket. Furthermore, they often rely on security holes that mobile operating system manufacturers, like Apple and Google, regularly patch.

Realistically, if a hacker tampers with a public charging station, it’s likely part of a targeted attack against a high-value individual, not a commuter who needs to nab a few battery percentage points on her way to work.

Safety First

USB charging cables at a public charging station in a park.
galsand/Shutterstock

It’s not the intent of this article to downplay the security risks posed by mobile devices. Smartphones are sometimes used to spread malware. There have also been cases of phones being infected while connected to a computer that harbors malicious software.

In a 2016 Reuters article, Mikko Hypponen, who is effectively the public face of F-Secure, described a particularly pernicious strain of Android malware that impacted a European aircraft manufacturer.

“Hypponen said he had recently spoken to a European aircraft maker that said it cleans the cockpits of its planes every week of malware designed for Android phones. The malware spread to the planes only because factory employees were charging their phones with the USB port in the cockpit,” the article stated.

“Because the plane runs a different operating system, nothing would befall it. But it would pass the virus on to other devices that plugged into the charger.”

You buy home insurance not because you expect your house to burn down, but because you have to plan for the worst-case scenario. Similarly, you should take sensible precautions when you use computer charging stations. Whenever possible, use a standard wall socket, rather than a USB port. Otherwise, consider charging a portable battery, rather than your device. You can also connect a portable battery and charge your phone from it as it charges. In other words, whenever possible, avoid connecting your phone directly to any public USB ports.

Even though there’s little documented risk, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As a general rule, avoid plugging your stuff into USB ports you don’t trust.

RELATED: How to Protect Yourself From Public USB Charging Ports





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How Credit Card Fraud Works and How to Stay Safe

It’s common knowledge to keep your credit card safe from fraud, but how does it work? How do hackers get your card details in the first place?

Let’s explore how scammers do credit card frauds, and how you can stay safe.

How Hackers Get Your Credit Card Number

For a scammer to do credit card frauds, they first need all the necessary details. There are several ways they can get these details, and they range from the very basic to the more technologically complex.

Getting Details via Phishing

Phishing is an old strategy that is still effective today. The scammer gets in touch with you via phone or email, usually posing as your credit card issuer. From here, they can talk you into giving them your credit card information.

It sounds like something you’d be able to spot right away, but some phishers are very skilled. This is very similar to the tactic that was used in the British phone-hacking scandal a couple of years ago. Thankfully, you can learn how to spot a phishing email


How to Spot a Phishing Email




How to Spot a Phishing Email

Catching a phishing email is tough! Scammers pose as PayPal or Amazon, trying to steal your password and credit card information, are their deception is almost perfect. We show you how to spot the fraud.
Read More

, so be sure to study up before you become a victim!

Gleaning Details From Database Leaks

Scammers also get credit card details from online data breaches.  Hackers have successfully breached big-names like Target, Home Depot, and the PlayStation Network in the past. These companies tend to have saved payment information listed under each customer, which scammers can use for fraud.

The numbers stolen from those sites often end up on “carding” shops, where people go to buy stolen credit card numbers for use online. ZDNet mentions how some accounts sell for as little as $5 on the dark web. This makes it easy for thieves to buy hundreds of cards at a time, potentially including yours.

Monitoring Your Inputs With Keyloggers

If a hacker manages to get a keylogger or another type of malware installed on your computer, they could quickly steal your credit card information when you use it for online shopping. The silent nature of keyloggers makes them particularly nasty, so be sure to protect yourself against keyloggers as much as possible.

Forging Payments Using NFC Skimming

Someone paying for goods using the NFC on a credit card.
Image Credit: AllaSerebrina/DepositPhotos

These days, credit cards have NFC scanning built-in. NFC is also known as “contactless,” and it’s when you place the card up against the payment terminal to buy something.

Scammers can use devices that act like these payment terminals. When they pass close by to someone with a credit card in their pocket, the skimmer makes a fraudulent payment to the card. The victim may not even realize this has happened until they notice odd fees on their statement.

How Scammers Use Your Credit Card

Once a thief has your credit card, the hardest part is complete. Now all they need to do is use it or sell it on. The credit fraud they choose depends on their ulterior motive behind why they stole the details in the first place.

Making Contactless Payments

Contactless payments with cards don’t require PINs or signatures, so they’re perfect for credit card thieves. Even though the limits for contactless payments are rather small, they add up quickly. Online payments don’t require PINs or signatures ether, so going on an Amazon shopping spree with a stolen card is remarkably easy.

Fortunately, there are constraints for the scammer. The upper limit of a credit card will stop them from spending too much. On top of this, credit cards typically allow a set amount of contactless payments before it asks for a PIN. These restrictions mean the scammer can perform only a small shopping spree before they’re locked out without a PIN.

Selling the Card Online

If the hacker doesn’t want to “dirty their hands” with a stolen credit card, they sell the details online. These credit card markets thrive on the dark web, where all kinds of identifying information is up for sale. Sellers need to keep their practices under wraps to protect their business from law enforcement, and the dark web gives them the protection they need to operate.

Buying and Flipping Goods

A range of different gift cards.
Image Credit: dennizn/DepositPhotos

If the hacker has enough information to make large purchases with the cards, they can buy goods and sell them on the black market. This is safer for them, as it hides their tracks better than if they transferred money directly into their bank account.

Scammers will typically buy gift cards. They can then sell these cards on the black market for less than face value. For instance, a $100 gift card will sell for $60. This makes them highly desirable for buyers and gives the scammer a way to wash their hands of the evidence.

How to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

There’s a lot a scammer can do with a credit card. As such, it’s important to keep yours secure. By following a few guidelines, you can decrease the chances you’ll encounter credit card fraud.

Don’t Share Credit Card Information Freely

First, don’t share your card information over the phone or in an email. Credit card companies, banks, and stores won’t randomly ask for your credit card information. If someone asks for them out of the blue, exercise extreme caution. If you need to share your information over the phone, be sure that no one is around to overhear you.

Keep Track of Data Breaches

Second, pay attention to online security news. If a service you use suffers a database breach and leaks payment information, contact your bank immediately.

You could wait to see if you get any suspicious charges on your account before alerting your bank, but this is risky. For example, ABC News reported on how the Bank of America fraud department can be hard to convince that a scam occurred in the first place. Waiting for fraud to happen may result in lost money that you have to wrestle back.

Protect Your Card’s RFID

Third, consider buying an RFID-blocking wallet


What Is an RFID-Blocking Wallet? (And Which Should You Buy?)




What Is an RFID-Blocking Wallet? (And Which Should You Buy?)

If you have cards, passports, or devices with RFID chips, then an RFID-blocking wallet could be important for keeping your data safe.
Read More

, so your card is protected while it’s in your pocket. By blocking RFID signals, the wallet prevents any device from reading the information on your card until you take it out to use it.

Double-Check Payment Points

Fourth, be careful with where you insert your credit card.  Scammers can operate at ATMs, pay-at-the-pump gas stations, small stores, and restaurants. If the payment terminal looks weird somehow, use another method to pay. Make cash withdrawals from within your bank, pay at the counter when you buy gas, and don’t let your card out of your sight.

Keep Tabs on Your Records

Finally, make sure to monitor your credit card statements, bank statements, and credit reports. The earlier you catch a potentially fraudulent transaction, the better. These days, you can get a credit report for free without harming your score. This makes it easier to spot any weird purchases and quickly report them.

Staying Safe With Payment Cards

Credit cards are a hot commodity for scammers. From small NFC skims to large-scale gift card selling, there are multiple ways they can make use of your details. Keep them safe to avoid headaches in the future!

You now know not to trust a phishing call, but can you trust your browser with your credit card information


Can You Trust Your Browser With Credit Card Information?




Can You Trust Your Browser With Credit Card Information?

Shopping online and tempted to save your credit card information in your browser? Here’s why you might not want to do that.
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How Safe Are Password Managers?

Filling in a password on a laptop computer.
Irina Adamovich/Shutterstock.com

A password manager stores all your passwords and automatically fills them in your web browser and mobile apps. But is trusting an app with your passwords and storing them all in one place a smart idea?

Yes, yes, it is. We recommend everyone use a password manager, which is far superior to other ways of keeping track of your passwords. Here’s why they’re a safe choice.

Password Managers Are Safer Than the Alternative

A password manager stores your passwords in a secure vault, which you can unlock with a single master password—and, optionally, an extra two-factor authentication method to help keep everything extra secure.

Password managers let you use strong, unique passwords everywhere. This typically isn’t possible for most people—can you really remember unique, strong passwords for every website you use? Password managers can generate and remember passwords like E.wei3-uaF7TaW.vuJ_w.

If you don’t use a password manager to store your passwords, you probably can’t remember all the unique, strong passwords you would need to use. Most people end up reusing passwords on multiple websites—that’s the most dangerous thing, as a password database leak at once website means your accounts on another site are wide open. Someone just has to try signing in with the same email address and password combination from the breach.

You could try creating “unique” passwords yourself based on a pattern. For example, maybe your base password is [email protected]_. You could modify it based on the domain—for example, when signing into facebook, you could take the “f” and the “a” and make it [email protected] Repeat this for each account you use, and you have unique passwords you can remember yourself, right? Well, not really—your passwords are now predictable. And what happens when a website doesn’t allow special characters or limits you to a specific number of digits and your method doesn’t work?

With a password manager, you just have to create one strong password and remember it.

While you do have to place some trust in whatever password manager you choose, using a password manager is more secure than the alternatives. The password managers we recommend have never had their passwords compromised, but many people have gotten in trouble through reusing passwords. Exploiting those reused passwords is often how attackers “hack” accounts these days.

How Password Managers Secure Your Passwords

Signing into 1Password X in Chrome.

We—and many other sites—recommend 1Password and LastPass as our top picks. Both protect your password vault with strong encryption (AES-256, specifically), even while it’s stored in the cloud. While the passwords are on your PC, phone, or tablet, they’re protected with a “master password” you know that makes them unreadable by anyone without that password. On modern devices, you can also unlock your vault with biometric authentication—like Face ID or Touch ID on iPhones.

Both services say the master password never leaves your device, and they couldn’t access your passwords if they want—they have “zero knowledge” of your passwords. They’ve undergone third-party audits and code reviews. Neither has ever suffered a serious breach, and both are up-front and transparent about how they protect your data. See the 1Password and LastPass websites for more details.

Prefer doing it yourself? Open-source password managers like Bitwarden and KeePass also exist. You can use these open-source applications to store your password on your own devices or servers. For example, you could set up your own sync server for Bitwarden or manually sync a KeePass database between your devices. It will likely be more complex and more work—and the apps aren’t as user-friendly—but if you prefer open-source software, options are available.

Can You Trust Password Manager Companies?

Signing into the LastPass browser extension in Chrome.

Ultimately, you are placing some trust in the password-manager companies here. Sure, the companies promise to keep your passwords safe, but they could update their software to capture your passwords, or a massive security hole could open your passwords to attack. The companies are audited for security, but what if they turned bad?

Sure, that’s a risk. You trust your password manager like any other application you use. The same is true for any application on your PC or most browser extensions: They could spy on you and phone home, reporting your passwords, credit card numbers, and communications to someone else.

But that hasn’t happened yet. These are reputable companies in the business of security. It’s probably more dangerous to install random browser extensions—many of which get full access to everything that happens in your browser and could phone home with those details—than store your passwords in a password manager.

We Use Password Managers and Recommend Them

We follow our own advice and use password managers like 1Password and LastPass here at How-To Geek, too. The password managers built into browsers like Chrome and Apple’s Safari are getting better, but they just aren’t as powerful or fully featured yet.

On top of the safety, password managers offer many convenience benefits. You can easily share your passwords with a friend, family member, or coworker. You can automatically fill those passwords on mobile without typing them in—even on an iPhone or iPad. Password managers like 1Password and LastPass provide alerts if any of the passwords you’re using have been breached in an attack and recommend passwords you should change. It’s a big improvement over trying to keep track of all your passwords without any help.

RELATED: Why You Should Use a Password Manager, and How to Get Started





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