You should not always use the same password, because that carries a risk. We advise you in our guide for secure passwords. But who can remember all these passwords then? Password managers will take this opportunity to help you out. We have therefore tested and compared the best tools.
Password Manager Under Test: Important Details
Most importantly, password managers should have a feature: a secure password store. This is ensured by algorithms such as “Twofish” or “Advanced Encryption Standard” (AES). The algorithms are based on block ciphers and cryptography.
The key length, which indicates the number of different possible keys in a logarithmic measure, should be 256 bits. 256 is not the number. The number of different combinations gives a number with 78 digits. Thus, the higher the bit count, the better the encryption. 256-bit is currently the highest encryption method.
Below we have tested and compared various password managers for you – offline as well as online. We also distinguish between free and paid tools.
Password Manager in the test: Free and offline
KeePass is a free password manager programmed by Dominik Reichl and designed primarily for Windows. But since this is open source, several offshoots have been developed for Linux, macOS, iOS and Android. These can open KeePass databases as well. The manager for Windows offers you the previously mentioned 256-bit encryption with AES and Twofish algorithm respectively AES and ChaCha20 algorithm. The Windows client is simple and who has problems with English, can install a German language pack after.
You save your created password database with a master key, which you must not forget, otherwise you will no longer have access to the memory. Additional features that complete the package include the ability to install plug-ins that extend the functionality of KeePass and a password generator. Although we consider the auto-login feature to be time-saving, it’s not too safe. When copying or “Auto-Type” an installed keylogger could read out the password.
The Password Safe is as free as KeePass. It was developed by renowned security expert Bruce Schneier and is also an open source project. The official version is available for Windows in a 32- and 64-bit version. Likewise, a beta for Linux systems is available for download. Unofficial clones are available for Android and iOS. Password Safe uses the Twofish algorithm for encryption and a 256-bit key.
Password Safe is the “Editor’s Choice”. The author uses this password manager himself and praises its simple and self-explanatory structure. Creating a database requires a master password, which you should under no circumstances forget. In addition to additional features such as a password generator and a “read only” mode, you also have the option to activate a two-factor authentication with the paid Yubikey from yubico.com. Positive in the test, we notice the automatic lock when the program is running in the background.
Also online there are a number of free password managers. Many, however, are based on the so-called “freemium” model. Here are the functions of the application limited and advanced features are subject to a charge. If the free version is just a trial version or very limited in functionality, we have sorted the password manager among the paid applications.
Secure Safe comes from the DSwiss from Switzerland. The company is a provider of highly secure digital service services. All data is stored in several data centers in Switzerland.
SecureSafe belongs to the Freemium models, whereby there are four different models. We looked at the free model in the test.
This brings us a memory for 50 passwords, as well as 100 megabytes of data storage. Missing important features are just a two-factor authentication and the PDF and image preview. The former is from the Pro version for Euro 1.40 per month and the latter is the Silver version for Euro 3.60 per month available. Furthermore, a password generator is on board. SecureSafe is available as a desktop version, as well as for Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.
Bitwarden is an open source password manager. This means that the source code of the software can be viewed. The manager is being developed by 8bit Solutions LLC from Florida, USA. Bitwarden is free with almost all functions. You have access to all applications for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android or iOS, as well as the desktop version.
Furthermore, in the free version, a two-factor authentication and a password generator on board. In addition, you can host your manager on your own server. However, this requires more technical understanding. For $ 10 a year, you get extra features such as a gigabyte of data storage, two-factor authentication via USB stick, such as YubiKey or password monitoring.
LastPass is a password manager that works mostly web-based. The US developer was acquired in 2015 by LogMeIn, an American software company. Web-based means that although there is a web service, an app and browser plug-ins, there is no offline function for the PC. The data is stored according to the user in the US or in the EU.
The free version of LastPass brings a lot of interesting features with it. These include a password generator, notes, the LastPass Authenticator and a multi-factor authentication, for another level of security. If you buy the premium version for 1.76 euros per month, then there are still features, such as additional multi-factor authentications via Yubikey or fingerprint scanner included.
Password Manager in the test: Paid and online
The fee-based password manager 1Password of the Canadian company AgileBits pursues a different concept: He is an online as well as an offline password manager. You can test the manager for free for 30 days, but then fall to just under 2.50 euros per month in costs for one person. But you have access to iOS and Android apps, software for Windows and macOS and the browser.
The 1Password Password Manager is continually evolving to build a graphical interface. The developers use six different cryptographic encryption routines. But the main focus is on the synchronization between the different platforms. For example, with just one click, you can save all data in the cloud only when you’re traveling. You do not necessarily have to remember a master password either. If you use the apps for Android or iOS, you can unlock the “safe” by fingerprint. The 1Password Password Manager takes many tasks off against a monthly payment.
Dashlane is one of the most popular password managers worldwide. New York-based developers have been on the market since 2012 with Dashlane. Hosted data is hosted on AWS, Amazon’s cloud hosting solution. The password manager is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and via the web view.
Dashlane also builds on the Freemium model. There is an offline storage for a device with storage space for up to 50 passwords. If you pay 3,33 Euro per month for the Premium version, you can save an unlimited number of passwords and an online storage. There’s also Dark Web monitoring, which looks to see if your data is in the “wild” and a VPN on board. Of course, the test also helps plugins when filling in data in the browser.
Stegano’s password manager
The Steganos password manager is a paid password manager and comes from Germany. This is developed by Steganos GmbH, which has its headquarters in North Rhine-Westphalia. For a license for five devices, you pay just under 20 euros.
Stegano’s password manager offers the typical features of the test: a clean design coupled with the synchronization of the apps for Android and iOS, the web service and the desktop version. In addition, browser plug-ins and two-factor authentication via app are available. By the way: Steganos does not use its own hoster to synchronize. You can automatically sync files through OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or MagentaCLOUD.
Alternatives from Antivirus Software Manufacturers
In addition to many individual providers, several manufacturers of anti-virus software distribute password managers together with their security software, which of course we do not want to ignore in the test. The most prominent examples here are Avast Passwords or Kaspersky, as well as Norton. Other vendors, such as McAfee True Key, are bringing decoupled products to market.
Two positive examples, which also come from Europe, include F-Secure Key and the Avira Password Manager. F-Secure is headquartered in Finland and stores most of the data in the main office and Avira is “Made in Germany”. Both cost in the premium version just under 25 to 30 euros and offer a lot of features, such as a password and account check. Furthermore, both applications offer a tidy design.
We will test more password managers over time and add them to our comparison. In our Alert Ticker you will find daily new fraud alerts and breaking news. Also, tell us which password manager you are using.