Password security is not an optional extra for companies, public organizations, and anyone who uses sensitive financial or personal information. Anyone can become a victim of password hacking or identity theft leading to social media hijacks, theft, and loss of data.

With threats like this mounting, password managers have started to find a mass market. Apps like LastPass and DashLane have risen to prominence, but now established tech security brands are following suit. And antivirus giant Avast is at the front of the charge.

This review will look at Avast Passwords, assessing whether it measures up to the competition, what it has to offer. And, ultimately, if it can be trusted to keep your passwords safe.

Introducing Avast Passwords

Based in the Czech Republic, Avast claims to foil 2 billion cyber-attacks every month and has hundreds of millions of users across the world. It’s a pretty well-respected security company, and if history is any guide, Passwords should be a solid addition to its portfolio.

The app itself is a classic password manager, allowing users to store passwords for online services securely. Each password is encrypted, and groups of passwords can be protected with “master” passwords, adding an extra layer of protection against illicit access.

Avast Passwords: Pros and Cons

Naturally, Passwords is a bit more than just an encrypted database. This table of pros and cons should help to get a feel for what it brings to the table:

Pros

  • Works closely with Avast’s antivirus and VPN (Virtual Private Network) applications, providing a good all-around set of security tools.
  • Neatly designed, clean interface that almost anyone can use without any problems.
  • Master password provides an extra layer of authentication.
  • Has the option to add “Secure Notes” which lets you store confidential documents behind a virtually impregnable barrier.
  • One touch login is tailored for smartphone users.
  • Includes browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
  • Password Guardian helps to come up with secure passwords.
  • The free version is perfectly functional for most users.
  • Can import passwords from other password managers.

Cons

  • No Linux client.
  • Windows users need to install the broader Avast Antivirus app package.
  • Password sharing isn’t available

Technical specifications

  • Operating systems: Windows 7 and later, MacOS, Android, iOS
  • Modes: logins, credit cards, Secure Notes
  • Browsers supported: Safari, Firefox, Chrome
  • Encryption: ECDH Key Agreement with 256-Bit AES encryption

Is Avast Passwords safe?

Avast Passwords includes enough security features to make it pretty watertight. Most importantly, it shields your passwords and personal data behind 256-bit AES encryption, which is virtually impossible to crack. The master password adds even more security.

However, the way this is set up for PCs can alarm some users. The app requests your master password twice every day, regardless of how often you load the password manager. This means that there’s a slight chance with Avast that unprotected passwords will be exposed. But this isn’t an issue for other platforms.

How to use Avast Passwords

To use the paid version of the app, you’ll need to obtain an Avast Passwords activation code. This is purely a licensing issue, the kind you’ll find with almost any software.

This activation code should be sent through with your order confirmation email. So have a look for it there if you’re struggling to access the app.

However, there may be some differences between operating systems regarding how to get started. So it’s worth briefly discussing them.

Avast Passwords for Windows

Importantly, Passwords is only available for PCs as part of the Avast Antivirus package. So, if you don’t have that installed, you can’t use the password manager. If you’re a Norton fan, look away now. There’s little point in continuing.

If not, here’s the basic activation process:

  1. Head to the Antivirus front-end.
  2. Choose Menu followed by My licenses or right-click the orange Avast icon in your system tray, and select the Subscription Information option from the pop-up menu.
  3. Press the Enter a valid activation code button, and enter your code.
  4. Press the green Enter button, and you’re good to go.

Avast Passwords for Mac

Mac users don’t need to download the Antivirus suite, so the activation process is simpler. In this case, download and launch the free version of Passwords.

Now, click the Avast Passwords icon at the top and select the Open Avast Passwords option. In the Finder menu bar, select Go and then, Applications. Next, double-click the Avast Passwords icon.

From the Avast Password menu, pick the Activate Premium option. Now, enter your activation code. Then, press the Activate button, and you’re all done.

Avast Passwords for Chrome

One of the neat things about Passwords is the ability to add it as a Chrome extension.

Getting started with Chrome is pretty easy too. Just load up the Antivirus package and choose Get Started.

Now, click on the option to Activate in Google Chrome.

Now, follow the prompts provided by Chrome to install the Passwords extension. That’s all there is to it.

Avast Passwords for Firefox

The case is similar to Chrome. Just open Antivirus, pick the Activate in Firefox menu option, and follow the prompts. You’ll need to press the Allow button to finalize the installation and to agree to Add the extension to Firefox.

When that’s done, passwords from your vault should be added automatically when you visit websites – just as they would with conventional (but unprotected) browser password tools.

Is Avast Passwords not working? Some common faults that customers encounter

While Passwords is a slick security tool, users sometimes encounter issues that buyers should know about.

Problems seem to arise most commonly after Windows updates, which often require a patch to get Passwords up and running again.

There can also be issues with Firefox updates when the browser auto-deletes Passwords from the list of active extensions. In this case, you just need to re-install the add-on, and everything should work fine.

Some users with multiple devices also come across issues with syncing their devices. Due to the way Avast manages accounts, merging passwords on smartphones and laptops is tricky, leading to users having to clean up obsolete passwords.

Pricing: Value for money?

Passwords come as both a free and “premium” package, but is it worth paying extra to upgrade? The free version does many of the things password holders require, and it’s just as secure. So at a basic level, upgrading isn’t essential.

On the other hand, there are some benefits. The paid version comes with Password Guardian, which helps users respond to security alerts and prompts you to update your passwords.

Only the paid version features “one-touch login” as well, making it much more convenient for smartphone users to access their password vault.

These features come at a price of $1.53/month. If you need the extra assurance and convenience, that might be worth paying. If not, the free version should be just fine.

It’s also worth noting that Passwords comes with a 30-day refund guarantee. So, if you aren’t happy with the service, you can cancel your subscription. After that point, you’ll be locked into a set period, so bear it in mind.

Avast Passwords comparisons

Avast Passwords vs LastPass

Avast Passwords
LastPass
Price
$1.53/month ($18.36/year)$24/year
Number of devices
UnlimitedUnlimited
Two-factor authenticationYesYes
Automatic fill of web formsYesYes
Password strength reportYes (with premium version)Yes
Secure sharingNoYes
Browsers
Chrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Edge, Maxthon, Safari, Opera
SynchronizationWindows, Mac, iOS, AndroidMacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, WatchOS

Avast Passwords vs Dashlane

And let’s also compare Passwords with Dashlane, the other of the “big two” password management tools:

Avast Passwords
DashLane
Price
$1.53/month ($18.36/year)$60/year ($4.99/month)
Number of devices
UnlimitedOne (free version), Unlimited (premium)
Two-factor authenticationYesYes
Automatic fill of web formsYesYes
Password strength reportYes (with premium version)Yes
Secure sharingNoYes
Browsers
Chrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge
SynchronizationWindows, Mac, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, iOS, WatchOS, Android

Pick the right password manager for your security needs

Choosing a password manager is a crucial decision. One false move and you could leave your passwords totally exposed.

It’s essential to avoid suppliers like KeePass, which announced that a vulnerability has been allowing hackers to send malware to users. And, in our opinion, Avast Passwords manages to fall into the “reliable” bracket.

Featuring solid encryption, a simple interface, and good compatibility with devices and operating systems, it’s a handy addition. Especially, for people who already use the Antivirus package.

However, we’ve highlighted some flaws, and user complaints haven’t been uncommon. So be aware of that, and remember the refund policy. If things go wrong, Dashlane and LastPass are a few clicks away as well.