As we use our smartphones and other mobile devices more and more often to purchase goods online or sign onto paid services, we also have to create and use more sophisticated passwords. While we are certainly seeing an increased use of methods beyond passwords for those features, such as fingerprint sensors and even iris and facial scanning, the truth is that the simple line of letters, numbers and special characters will continue to be the primary way for most folks to access online shopping businesses and services for some time to come.
Since we are so dependant on our passwords, we are also vulnerable to having those passwords hacked and used without our consent.
Since we are so dependant on our passwords, we are also extremely vulnerable to having those passwords hacked and used without our consent. That’s why it’s so important to have strong and unique passwords for anything we sign up for online.
However, most of us have a ton of different services we use online, and there is a strong temptation to use the same password for all of them. There’s also a tendency to use simple passwords that could be quickly discovered. That’s where password managers can become very helpful indeed.
The use of a password manager allows users to have strong and unique passwords for every service he or she signs up for online, without the need to keep and remember that information inside their head all the time. But what’s the best password manager?
Three such password manager services have emerged in the past few years as the leaders in this small, but still important, industry for mobile device owners: LastPass, 1Password and Enpass. All of them claim to offer the best way to make sure that the many passwords that their users create are available to access at any time, and that they are safe and secure. But which of these three leading password managers is the best for you?
LastPass, 1Password, and Enpass all offer a way for users to save different passwords to different online businesses and services in one database, which eliminates the need to remember a ton of unique password configurations in favor of just one: the master password.
Your master password is protected with AES-256 bit encryption on all three services. What does that mean? Without getting into all of the math involved, it means that even if all of the super computers in the world were programmed to find the specific AES-256 bit encryption key that is used to store your master password, they would take the current age of the entire universe to check out less than 0.01 percent of all those key possibilities. In other words, there should be no way that master password is getting hacked directly from those services.
AES-256 bit encryption is used to store the master password for all three services.
Having said that, that doesn’t mean you should have a weak master password if you decide to use LastPass, 1Password, or Enpass. You should still have a strong password that is easy to remember, just in case. While LastPass, 1Password, and Enpass all use that setup, there are still some feature differences between those services.
The free version of LastPass now allows users to sync up their passwords across all of their devices, regardless of platform. If you have previously used a web browser to store all your passwords, LastPass offers to turn off that feature in your browser and transfer all of its stored passwords into your new manager. After that, if you want to sign up to use a new service that requires a password, LastPass can automatically generate a strong one for you, which you then can edit to suit your, or the service’s, needs.
LastPass also offers a way for users to pick a family member or friend to access your passwords in the event you are incapacitated or even if you unexpectedly pass away.
LastPass also offers a way for users to pick a family member or friend to access your passwords in the event you are incapacitated or even if you unexpectedly pass away. You can enter that person’s email, along with a set waiting period, and if that period expires, he or she would be sent a message with a way to access your account.
If for some reason your go-to person gets access ahead of that period, LastPass would send an email to the original user, which would allow them to deny access. The service also has a password sharing feature that allows users to share passwords to certain services with others, such as a spouse or other family member who might, for example, need to access a joint bank account.
LastPass also offers a way to quickly fill out web forms with your personal info (name, address, phone number, etc). It also has support for multi-factor authentication, just in case you forget your master password or if you are afraid it might have leaked to hackers. There’s even a Security Challenge feature that allows users to see how secure all their passwords they have stored with LastPass really are.
The parent company for 1Password, AgileBits, have created a solid user interface for this service, which should make it easy to access for most users. In addition to your master password, 1Password generates a long 34-character key if you want to add a new device to your account, which adds an extra bit of security.
1Password can import your old passwords from your various sites and services stored in your browsers into your master account, and it also has a password generator to help you create a strong password when you either sign up for a new site, or if you want to update a password from an older one.
In addition to your master password, 1Password generates a long 34-character key if you want to add a new device to your account.
1Password can also fill out web forms automatically, and can even securely store your credit card information. One thing that the service does not have yet is two-factor authentication. It appears that the company uses the Account Key as a substitute.
If, for some reason, your smartphone is stolen, you can go into your 1Password manager and deactivate that device. That means whomever holds that phone will then need the Account Key, in addition to the master password, to access it.
Finally, the service has what it calls Watchtower, which it claims keeps track of any security issues that might impact one or more of the service that you might use. It will send out alerts if any sites or services might have security breaches, which will give you a way to change your password.
One of the more interesting features available with the use of Enpass allows you to store your password data on a separate cloud service, rather than one that’s operated by the company. It supports Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and many more. It does not automatically import passwords stored on your browsers, but you can import your older password lists if you have used other manager services like LastPass in the past.
Enpass allows you to store your password data on a separate cloud service.
One cool thing about Enpass is that you can access it without having to remember your master password on your smartphone, if it has a fingerprint reader. Yes, you can access your Enpass account just by using your fingerprint on your phone. This is obviously going to be the future in terms of security, and it’s great that Enpass is supporting this feature.
LastPass, 1Password, and Enpass apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems. LastPass and Enpass also support Linux PCs, and Enpass even supports BlackBerry, Windows 10 UWP and Chrome OS. In addition, browser extensions are available for all three password managers for Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers. LastPass also adds support for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser for older versions of Windows and the new Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10.
While LastPass, 1Password, and Enpass all offer at least some way to check out their services for free, all of them also offer premium access at various prices.
If you are strictly using a password manager on your Windows, Mac or Linux PC, Enpass offers perhaps the best deal among the three managers we are covering in this article. The Enpass PC desktop app is completely free to use, with no restrictions in terms of its features. If you want to use it on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, you can also use it for free, but you can only store up to 20 passwords. If you want to lift that restriction, you only pay $9.99 for each platform, and that’s for a lifetime of use, with no other monthly or annual fees.
There is a free 30-day trial, without the need to add a credit card, if you want to check out 1Password for yourself. After that, you will need to pay $36 a year to access the service for just one person, or $60 a year for its Families option, which allows you to share passwords with up to five family members (additional members can be added to this subscription for $12 a year each).
If you are using LastPass for personal use, you can access it for free, which offers access to all of your devices, along with one-to-one sharing of passwords. The paid Premium personal account adds more features, including one-to-many sharing support, better tech support, unlimited file sharing, the Emergency Contact feature, and more.
Until recently, LastPass Premium costs just $12 a year, but now that price has gone up to $24 a year. The company is also currently testing yet another paid tier, Last Pass Families, that will allow users to store and share critical personal info, such as passwords, bank account information, or passport numbers, with up to six family members. It will officially launch later this summer. Pricing has yet to be revealed, but members of LastPass Premium will be able to access the Families tier for free for six months.
|Import passwords from browser||Yes||Yes||No|
|Cloud backup of passwords||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|You have to pay to use it permanently||No (some features unlocked for fee)||Yes (30-day free trial)||No (some features unlocked for fee)|
|Android O support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|AES-256 bit encryption||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Family support||No (coming soon)||Yes||Yes|
Support for Android O
If you have been following the news about the upcoming Android O operating system (also known as Android 8.0), you know that its development team at Google have added a new API specifically for automatically filling online forms. LastPass, 1Password, and Enpass have all announced that they plan to add support for the new Autofill APIs in Android O. This should make it even easier and faster for users to quickly fill out web and app forms when they want to sign up for new services, enter contests and more.
While you will get solid results if you pick LastPass, 1Password, or Enpass for your password management needs, we think Enpass is ultimately the best choice. It offers a wide range of platform support and its use of third-party cloud services to store and sync up your password data is a big plus (assuming you trust cloud services).
Finally, adding mobile platforms for the price of $9.99 per platform with no other monthly or yearly fee needs, makes Enpass the cheapest solution by far. We wish it had a couple of features that LastPass and 1Password had, especially the ability to import previously stored passwords directly from web browsers, but the benefits of Enpass far outweigh its issues.
However, your particular needs an preferences may push you towards one of the others on this list or another service entirely. If you had to pick between LastPass, 1Password, or Enpass, which one would you choose and why? Let us know your opinions in the comments!