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Securing Your Passwords with an Android Password Manager [Beginner’s Guide]

password lock

Let’s just get this out there: remembering passwords is the worst. We all know that we are supposed to have complicated, long passwords that have nothing to do with our history. We are supposed to have a new password for every site and the list goes on from there. Unless you are a human supercomputer, doing all that is not very easy.

Luckily for us, there is a growing market out there for password managers and lockers that make the whole process very easy. Let’s take a look at few of these services that are out there and discuss just how you can use them to keep your accounts and passwords safe. 

There are a lot of terms to understand when looking at the business of keeping passwords safe. For the sake of understanding a little bit deeper let’s get a few things straight.

Encryption. Encrypting data is a process which takes the information that you have and makes it unreadable to anyone but you. When you encrypt something, you are telling the program to make a key that you control that unlocks your information. There’s a lot of complex computer science and algorithms that go into this encryption, stuff that can be explained better by people far smarter than me, but for our purposes encryption is necessary to what these products do.

Multi-factor Authentication. This is something that you are seeing more companies adopt as online transactions become more important. This feature is when you input your password, you have to prove that you are really yourself to have access to your information. Inputting a password once is one factor. If you have to then input another password after that first one, that is another factor. Google, Twitter, Facebook and other websites have already implemented 2 step authentication for their services, but not every online website that you put your credit card information into does. That’s where these following services come in.


LastPass 

Price:  Free, $12/year

Out of the three services that we have here today, LastPass offers the most robust collection of features to keep your passwords and online presence safe. It is also the only option that offers a free version; the other two services require payment on all fronts. The free version of LastPass offers applications for Mac, Windows and browser extensions to be everywhere you need it when you are on your desktop. Once you login to your account with one strong, but still memorable password, you have access to an encrypted vault where you can keep your long string and secure passwords. LastPass even offers a security check once you have all your passwords input so they can help you get your act together.

But LastPass really shines when you pay for Premium. Not only do you get access to the LastPass mobile applications, but so much more as well. By adding in the mobile application, you can enable multi-factor authentication so that anytime someone tries to get into your LastPass account on a desktop, they need your phone as well. If you are an owner of the Galaxy S5, LastPass recently updated their application to work with the fingerprint scanner as a way to unlock your device. And if that still isn’t enough security for you, LastPass even works with companies like YubiKey. These two companies have worked together to make your thumb drive a tangible password key to your LastPass vault. No one gets into your vault unless they have that USB thumb drive plugged into that specific computer. Total lock down.

LastPass Premium costs $12 each year, but for the amount of security and flexibility that it brings, it’s a very small price to pay to keep your information safe.

1Password 

Price:  Free until August 1, Supported by in-app purchases after

1Password has been around on Android for a long time. So much so, that they had to almost completely overhaul their application because it had not seen any love since the Gingerbread days. However, they have since relaunched their app and are letting everyone try it out for free until August when the app will require in-app purchases to continue working.

1Password operates in the same way that the other two services do. – generate one password and use that to unlock your vault of passwords, credit card information and website logins. These can be accessed on computers or mobile, once you have purchased licences to access all of the portals that 1Password offers. 1Password uses Dropbox to sync the data between devices so to use this across platforms, you must also have a Dropbox account, but who doesn’t have one of those these days? 1Password, like these other services, makes it easy to auto-fill information on websites since remembering all these long passwords won’t be the easiest thing in the world.

We do not have any information as to how much 1Password will be when August rolls around, but for iOS users, the app is a one-time $17.99 purchase. Windows and Mac are separate purchases as well, but only one time as opposed to LastPass’s yearly subscription.

mSecure 

Price:  $9.99

mSecure is another popular, multi-platform password security service that has extended out to Android. mSecure bolsters their service with a 256bit Blowfish that they say has “never been cracked” before. Once purchased for Android or any other type of computer, mSecure offers mostly the same services that the other two do as well.

mSecure offers a multitude of security options once you get your account going. If you have your passwords stored in a messy spreadsheet or with a competitor, you can import them all easily right into your new vault through their software. As a last ditch line of defense, mSecure offers an optional “self-destruct” mode that will go into effect after someone tries to hack your password a certain number of times. If there are important items that you do not want getting out, that could be your best bet. mSecure also uses Dropbox to allow you to keep your information accessible across multiple platforms. Nothing is more dangerous in having software like this if you can’t access your randomly generated bank password when you need it most. Like 1Password, mSecure requires separate purchases for different platforms of their service. Make sure to pick the one you’ll use the most.


Now, the underlying irony of this situation is that to protect your passwords across the internet, you are giving them all to one company to keep in the same place. There is a sense of trust that must be extended to these companies that they aren’t the one abusing your passwords or playing fast and loose with. Each one of these applications is unique, so doing your research and finding out which one is the best for you is almost mandatory.

If you are looking into securing your passwords and online presence, these are only a few of the options available out there for you. We have heard some of our readers talking about these specific services, but if you have any other suggestions be sure to drop them in the comments below.

  • http://www.wherecaniwatchtv.com/ Jason Mauger
  • Yaritza Miranda

    I did it to my Led Lampen

  • http://www.spltek.com Silvio Pola

    Try Safebox password manager… is very intuitive with a beautiful graphic and totally isolated from internet for the best security of your data.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=src.safebox

  • Darin

    Hard to believe no mentions for eWallet and only one for Splash ID, two players that have been in the game since the Palm Pilot.

  • Joe LaFreniere

    I would recommend KeePass over all of these suggestions. It’s open source (no backdoors), cross platform (single database for Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS), and doesn’t require the user to give their encryption key to a third party.

    • Two-Factor

      LastPass does not require you to give an encryption key to a third party; encryption/decryption is performed on the local device.

    • Two-Factor

      Direct quote from the LastPass website: “All sensitive data is encrypted and decrypted locally before syncing with LastPass. Your key never leaves your device, and is never shared with LastPass. Your data stays accessible only to you.”

      • Joe LaFreniere

        I don’t understand. If they have no access to one’s key or unencrypted data, how is it that LastPass is able to issue recovery passwords?

  • RoofRoof

    I’ve tried all of them and have also paid for premium services to most if not all of them. PROBLEM! Sure they work fine on Websites, but where I really need username and password help is in Applications! I use Roboform for websites both on my PC and phone, but for applications on my phone nothing works well. What do you suggest? Could be a huge opportunity for someone who could write an app for that.

    • Two-Factor

      LastPass Mobile has a keyboard bundled with it that allows you to directly input your passwords from your vault into mobile application password fields, and also has a cut/paste feature accessible from within the password vault. I’ve been using it for over a year without any issues, including using an NFC-enabled Yubikey NEO for two-factor authentication.

  • andydrives2fast

    I mentioned this a few days ago in a previous password manager article, but I figure it worth mentioning again. I use Pocket (not the former Read-It later app) for my password storage. Its free, has PC/Mac apps (both free also), uses 265-bit encryption and has Dropbox sync across all your devices. It even has a random password generator if that’s your kinda thing. Yeah, the UI needs updated a bit, but you really can’t beat free.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.citc.wallet

  • reillynicolas

    before I
    looked at the paycheck which had said $9438 , I did not believe that my
    father in law was truley making money part-time on their apple labtop. .
    there aunt has been doing this 4 only about 11 months and just paid for the
    dept on their condo and bought a top of the range Smart ForTwo . see here
    now

    .>.>.>.>.>.>.>.>.>.>

    w­w­w.ⓦⓞⓡⓚⓢ77.c­o­m

  • samanthamillennii

    what Alice replied
    I’m alarmed that someone can earn $5952 in 4 weeks on the computer . this
    link WWW.WORK­s­77.ℂ­OM

  • jeesung

    My company licenses / encourages Splash ID
    https://splashid.com/

    Me, I’ve got a text file on my desktop . . .

  • Thomas Garcia
  • Indianajonze

    this is kind of sloppy journalism, no? 3 entries? there are a dozen viable options in this space at least, and i’d wager that at least one of the omitted ones, keeper, is more popular than 2 out of these 3…

  • Oliver Bacani

    Have you heard about the app Keeper that do the same thing as these 3 services you mentioned?

  • yochanan

    No mention of Roboform or PasswordBox?

  • http://www.kovdev.com/ kover

    This is not a beginner’s guide. I downloaded the app but have no idea how to use it. Where’s the instructions broski?

  • http://rayshq.com/ Ray

    Safe In Cloud for me personally.

    • Arun Misra

      Yes. Safe in cloud is good. Reliable syncing to Google drive, free windows app, and only a one time charge ($5)

  • FortitudineVincimus

    I love 1PW, long time user. BUT I had to buy the desktop app for Mac. Then 1 for Windows. And then upgrades for each along the way (like v2 to v3 and then v4) and now they want to charge us for the phone app? Being a 1PW user is a very expensive proposition. Shame on them for wanting to charge for this. Especially given that piece of crap Android version they have had floating around for like 3 years we had to suffer through using.

  • Harold Goldner

    My preference is B-Folders, which runs on Android and PC. Android version is free; you pay for the PC version (but can use on more than one computer). It also does lots more than just passwords.

  • ETPhoneHomeT

    How about Norton Identity Safe?

    • trixnkix637

      No NORTON anything.

  • Ken VanPelt

    I’ve been using Robo Form for more years than I care to think of. First on my desktop only. Now synchronized across, multiple desktops, phones & tablets. I pay a yearly fee but it covers as many devices as I need

  • froyoman

    I’ve been using a little app called OI Safe for as long as I can remember. It’s minimal and free and has always worked well for me.

  • EnvyAndroid

    I have been using keepass for a while.
    It works fine on desktop, but a bit clumsy on android. The keepassx for Mac is also a bit behind the windows version.

    I’m trying out laspass now, which seems great regarding ease of use, to log onto websites.

    • zen_rage

      Try Keepass2Android. It integrates via a keyboard that auto-types login info. They have an offline and online version.

  • cpearman

    What about Keeper? Are these any different? I have used Keeper for a couple of years now and i find it to be great.

  • PaulACalvin

    There are a lot of terms to understand when looking at the business of keeping passwords safe. For the sake of understanding a little bit deeper let’s get a few things straight. http://0rz.tw/9BIIY

  • http://www.arealcoolhand.com arealcoolhand

    I managed to get mSecure through one of the ten cent sales on the Play Store a long time ago and it was one of the best apps I got from those deals. As T4rd pointed out, the UI could use a polish but I appreciate being able to sync everything encrypted to Dropbox.

    • T4rd

      Hah, I got it from that same 10 cent sale! Before that, I had it from the Amazon FAOTD, but of course, I’d much rather have it from the Play Store for quicker updates and no connection requirement to use.

    • jboku

      Be warned, I got it as well from the 10 cent sale but my phone broke and guess what? all my passwords were lost. mSecure (at least as of less than a year ago) does NOT store your passwords in the cloud, only locally. you will need to backup your passwords manually onto another device.

      • jboku

        Also, I use LastPass now and it is amazing. It allows me to access my passwords on any system.

  • T4rd

    I’ve been using mSecure for a few years now and have been happy with it. It definitely needs a UI update, as it still looks like an app from the pre ICS days. But the functionality is there and that’s what matters most. I like that it backs itself up to Dropbox or local storage too.

  • Rand Paul 2016

    After the whole Target credit card hack. I’m weary of putting all my eggs in one basket with one of these types of companies. How is this more secure?

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Eric Rees

      I’ve been using LastPass for a few months now and have loved it so far. The trick is that before any information is shared with LastPass’s servers, it is encrypted. Once you unlock your vault of passwords, you access it, and then it locks again and then LastPass syncs that data with their servers. From the description, they never have direct access to your passwords.

  • http://www.droid-life.com/ Eric Rees

    I’ll be hanging out in the comments for a while if you guys have any questions for me!

    • T4rd

      Which one do you personally use or stick to?

      • http://www.droid-life.com/ Eric Rees

        I use LastPass, but have heard really good things about all of these services. Can’t really go wrong with any of them.

  • Zee

    Y u no mention about KeePass!

    • zen_rage

      KeePassDroid is pretty stable at this point. It hasn’t gotten many updates of late, but I have NOT had data corruption. As this app uses the same data format as the desktop Keepass, it is multi-platform capable. Which makes it a free, open-source, multi-platform, cloudless solution. Better in my opinion that any of the ones listed in this article.

      • Alan Burnstine

        Keepass2Android has taken the open source keepass for Android code base and continued to develop it. It now supports Keepass v2 files, and directly opens the databse file from Dropbox, Gooogle Drive, Onedrive, or several private cloud options. Latest update was yesterday, so definitely still under active development.

        • zen_rage

          KeePassDroid is NOT the same as Keepass2Android. Don’t confuse users.

          • Alan Burnstine

            I am not confusing users. I clearly stated that KeePass2Android was based on the KeePassDroid, but has been improved and continues to be updated. KeePassDroid development appears to have stopped except for minor bug fixes.

        • Joe LaFreniere

          Huge thumbs up for KeePass2Android.

  • Suicide_Note

    I’m a big fan of LastPass. Haven’t used the other two, so I can’t say whether they’re any good or not, but I’ll definitely check them out.

    • Brandon

      I’ve been using it for about a year and I love it.

  • Milan Patel
    • zen_rage

      Keepass2Android is nice. This adds keyboard functionality for auto-typing of your login info. It also supports a quick unlock if you can’t stand entering a huge password every few minutes. Too bad keepassdroid didn’t do this first. They will be cannibalized.