The importance of having unique, strong passwords for each and every online account you have cannot be overstated. The problem is, how do you remember these passwords, never mind which password goes with which site?
The solution lies in employing the services of a password manager tool. This creates a secure, encrypted vault – typically stored online to give you access from more than one PC – which is locked with a single master password. In other words, all you need to remember is this single password, and the password manager will remember the rest for you.
Symantec has been bundling its own password manager – which also includes a secure form-filling tool for automating the entry of other sensitive information such as names, addresses and credit-card details – with Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 for some time, and it's now offering the service for free via its new standalone desktop tool, Norton Identity Safe, currently in beta.
That’s all well and good if you’re exclusively PC, but what if you’re one of the growing number of people who spend a lot of time browsing on their mobile? Then Symantec has the answer to that conundrum, with this new mobile app for iOS and Android.
Before you can use Identity Safe on your mobile, you’ll need to install and configure the PC client. Once set up, you can download the app, which you’ll use in place of your web browser to access the web.
Once logged in, just click on one of your stored passwords to jump to the website in question with the username and password in place, then browse as normal. It’s not quite as elegant or as easy to use as the desktop version of the app, and it struggles to adapt to sites that switch to mobile-friendly formats.
Despite this, it can still speed up your mobile browsing through providing you with access to your login information, plus there are some handy little extras: a completely private browsing mode that leaves no trace of your web surfing, plus an option to view Norton's rating of a particular site, giving you some measure of protection against fraudulent websites.
Because it’s still in beta, you can’t yet install Norton Identity Safe through the App Store/Android Market. iPhone and iPad users will need to sign up for a Testflight account at the link above - it's all straightforward, but expect to wait a few days for the app to be made available. Android users can simply download APK file directly from the link and install it manually.