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Norton Password Manager is a free service offered by the cybersecurity giant. With over 4 million downloads in Chrome Store and more than 1 million Android apps installed, this password manager has already enjoyed some popularity. In this Norton Password Manager review, we will try to look at its safety and features to determine whether you should stick with it or look for a better option.
- Encryption: N/A
- Two-factor authentication: No
- Mobile app PIN: Yes
- Biometric login: Touch ID
- Platforms: Android, iOS
- Browser extensions: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge
- Free version: Yes
- Price: Free
Norton Password Manager is not a feature-rich service. While some could say that it’s free, the thing is that some competitors, such as LastPass, give you more without asking anything in return. Nevertheless, I’m here to help you decide if the basics that Norton offers will suffice you.
Import and export
Many times the start of using a(nother) password manager depends on its import and export capabilities. After all, no one wants to enter dozens of logins that you’ve been collecting in your browser or another password app manually. Unfortunately, Norton Password Manager doesn’t offer many import options.
With this service, you can import passwords from Chrome, 32-bit Firefox, Dashlane, LastPass and 1Password. Given that KeePass or LastPass can import from dozens of competitors, that’s really not much. I’m quite sure Norton Password Manager loses quite a few clients with such limited import options.
How to import passwords to Norton Password Manager
Importing requires you to download and install a special piece of software that generates a file on your desktop. Then you need to drag-n-drop it to the Norton Password Manager. While this process can be made less cumbersome, it’s not something you’ll be doing on a daily basis anyway.
After import, Norton advises to delete the file on the desktop, but some users might forget to do that, especially if they have cluttered workspaces. I hope that Norton will come up with a way of making this whole import process less old-school. On the other hand, this may be the price to pay for forfeiting the desktop apps.
After installing the 32-bit version of Firefox for my test, I added one Google account and ran the export feature. Surprisingly, I’ve got two more accounts available for me, which apparently were linked to my Google account, but didn’t work when trying to auto-fill.
Finally, you probably won’t fall the victim of this rule, but there’s a 15 MB limit to .csv files that can be imported to Norton Password Manager.
Exporting issues with Norton Password Manager
If you’re not sure you’ll be staying with this service long and wonder what export options Norton Password Manager has, here’s what I have to tell you: it didn’t work the way it should. According to the outdated support page, the Windows version would allow you to export a .csv or backup .dat file.
Sadly, what I got now is a new tab with my sole password in a comma-delimited format with no clear way of using it in another app or saving as a .csv.
All in all, I can say that Norton Password Manager import and export options are limited at best. Before you start using this program, make sure you’re fine with the options it has. And be ready to do some manual work.
A new feature of Norton Password Manager, Safety Dashboard, while still in beta, is already providing much value to the users. What it does is check each of your vault items for duplicates, old, and weak and give a total score of your safety.
In the same dashboard, you can manually or automatically change each password. For that, Norton Password Manager will open the corresponding website. The sad part is that this feature has been in beta since summer.
Opening password card
Upon opening your password’s card, you’ll see the option to add it to Favorites, edit its entries, request for vault password each time this one is used, and delete it for good.
It would be great, though, to have it integrated with the safety dashboard so you can easily see the strength and age of this password while being able to update it right away.
Previously Norton had a password generator on its website only, but now there’s one in browser extensions and mobile apps as well.
While it can generate passwords as short as 4 symbols, the default is 20 that should be enough even for the biggest encryption aficionados. I liked that Norton takes time to do a mini-FAQ explaining which passwords are considered weak and why you shouldn’t use them, not to say re-use them.
The generated passwords are evaluated as strong (green), weak (orange), and bad (red). You should be aware that Norton Password Manager considers an 11-letter password as strong, even though it doesn’t use upper-case, symbols, or numbers. However, a 10-symbol password with every possible symbol used is still considered as weak.
I’d advise adding at least one of those – after all, you won’t be remembering it anyway. This is especially important when generating passwords on Norton’s mobile apps that have no password strength meter and offer only four-symbols by default.
Apps and ease of use
Norton Password Manager is easy to use. Those who already have some experience with passwords managers might find the lack of desktop app daunting at first – Norton has decided to leave only mobile apps and browser extensions. To some extent, this makes things easier, but in some cases, like password import and export, it can create an unnecessary fuss.
Setting up a Norton Password Manager account is easy. While there are fields for your name, surname, and mobile phone, you can skip this as email and password will suffice. Also, don’t use the One password for this because you’ll need a second to open your vault. This will be the so-called Master Password that you’ll have to remember for the rest of your days.
Creating a password hint is another crucial step in setting up your account as it will be your only hope of remembering the vault password in case you forget it. Since it’s not gonna be stored on Norton’s servers or anywhere else, customer support won’t help you out in case of memory loss. Also, you won’t be able to reset the password by sending a reminder to your email.
No desktop apps
As I mentioned earlier, Norton Password Manager ditched desktop versions and left only browser extensions. These have their own limitations, which means you’ll probably want to have your mobile device right beside every time you use this service.
The reasoning is simple – browser extensions will ask you to enter the vault password, while you can confirm your identity using Mobile Unlock – your phone’s Touch ID or a similar biometric input.
Norton Password Manager has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. They have a simple design and are easy to use, although advanced users will quickly notice the lack of features and customization options.
Norton Password Manager categorizes your Vault’s secrecies into Logins, Wallet, Addresses, Notes, and Favorites. The latter can contain any of the first four. Logins are your passwords while Wallets can be either bank accounts or credit cards.
Logins can be easily copied by pressing the three dots on the right which gives a drop-down with username, password, or link straight to the login page within the in-built Browser.
There’s not much to toggle in Norton Password Manager’s Settings.
- Mobile Unlock helps you access your secure information fast with a notification from our Norton Password Manager app
- Change Vault Password
- Always require vault password before a login or form.
- Ask or always save login credentials when you log in to a website
- Share usage error and data with Norton
- Show third-party icons for each login
The only time you will return here is when you mistakenly turn on “Always require vault password” to turn it off for good.
Mobile apps (Android and iOS)
Android and iOS versions of Norton Password Manager can be downloaded from Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store, respectively.
During installation, it asks you to set up either biometric or PIN code for quick identification. While the former is safer, you can also use the latter if you know someone who could cut off your thumb to access that vault of yours. In any case, the PIN works on one device only, so there’s no big issue with it being just four digits – the same amount you would have on your hand if you used biometrics.
After that, the app gives you a small tour around its sections, but frankly, you don’t need it as Norton Password Manager’s mobile apps are easy enough to use already.
Contrary to its browser version, the mobile password generator allows four symbol passwords and doesn’t have a strength checker.
I hope Norton will address this issue and password strength requirements will be unified across different platforms.
Also, while Norton’s password strength generator gave examples of weak passwords in the browser extension, it would be nice if the mobile app discouraged you from using 1111 or 1234 as your PIN as well.
Built-in Browser for the mobile apps
The built-in browser is one of the sadder features of Norton Password Manager’s mobile apps. It’s for auto-login and saving your logins that aren’t yet in the Vault. Another reason why Norton Password Manager uses this built-in browser is the lack of support for other apps, at least when it comes to capturing the passwords.
Just like any regular browser, it has tabs, history, and bookmarks, among other options. You can also set it as your default browser, which you probably won’t.
Norton Password Manager browser also offers to use its Safe Search to avoid visiting any shady websites. Its Site report also shows what Norton thinks about that site’s safety and location.
When I tested it, the auto-save worked on Gmail and Netflix but not on YouTube or Yahoo. Even when I had all my credentials stored in the Vault, Norton Password Manager did only half the job, entering the username, but not the password. It seems that one should expect trouble with any mobile account that the in-built Browser can’t open.
Differences between mobile apps
It seems that for Apple products, AutoFill features depends on your OS version. Norton states that iOS 12’s new AutoFill allows choosing an app that will be responsible for that. Disabling KeyChain (default) and enabling Norton Password Manager should yield optimal results.
Compared to the Android app, the iOS version has a nicer menu and smoother animation, but other than that is pretty similar to what Android offers. The password generator has the same issues as the Android version.
Taking screenshots isn’t allowed on Android by default and I suggest keeping it that way. And if you turn it off, the app will request a restart and a PIN or a password first. iOS version allows screenshots by default, and there’s no immediate option to deny that.
Again, if you have the password in your vault, Norton will gladly suggest entering it for you wherever you may roam. Sadly, you can’t get Auto-save outside the app, meaning you’ll have to use the in-built Browser to connect every new account. That’s a bit of a nuisance when you’re already finishing the registration on Safari.
Help options in mobile apps
There’s plenty to click on in the Help section of Norton Password Manager, especially when compared to the browser extensions that simply load Norton’s Support website.
Help and Support opens Norton’s support website in the in-built Browser. The somewhat invisible “Contact us” at the top right is the shortcut to 24/7 live and phone support.
Report an issue just links to a forum without any guidelines on what to do next. Send Error Report is an email, and Troubleshooting is where your crucial info that the customer support will probably ask is, including OID, MID, and fingerprint.
For some reason, I constantly found Norton Password Manager turned off in Android’s Accessibility settings. It seemed like the system was rejecting it like a donor’s kidney. Sadly, I failed to troubleshoot this from Norton’s built-in Browser – you can read more on this in the customer support section below.
Clicking the Help icon at the top right corner opens a humongous Norton support portal. Unsurprisingly, the options are also multiple:
- 24/7 live chat (premium)
- 24/7 phone (premium)
- Facebook & Twitter
24/7 live chat AND phone support sound like a huge plus of Norton – not all premium password managers offer this. However, if you’re not among the proud owners of any Norton product, you can already start sifting through the knowledgebase. That’s because the first thing that customer support asks is your subscription account email.
I was unable to get to the chat screen when using Norton Password Manager’s built-in Browser. Apparently, it was blocking its own chat pop-up. Apple users shouldn’t laugh at this because when I filled in all the fields on my iPhone and pressed the button, I return to the same screen only to see all fields empty.
On desktop, the chat worked pretty smooth until I was transferred to the Mobile Support department and got to read the same auto-messages. After that, everything quickly turned into a Christmas Sale. Apparently Norton Password Manager is no longer free – you have to purchase another Norton product first to use it.
Norton Password Manager pricing
This is one of the areas where Norton does things a bit differently from other companies. Norton Password Manager is part of the paid Norton Security Suite, which costs an arm and a leg, but comes with a wide range of security software designed to keep customers as safe as possible.
Norton Password Manager is a free standalone service, allowing users to store and manage passwords at no extra cost and without seeing any ads. Also, payment info is not necessary to download the free version.
However, Norton is interested in you buying some of its premium products. Therefore, live chat and phone support won’t be available to everyone. Chances are that your free password manager account will be suspended until you buy something.
Is Norton Password Manager safe?
In short, it probably is. Norton password manager has a few different features that lend themselves to added security.
First off, there’s the encrypted password storage, which keeps your data safe from prying eyes and malicious actors. Secondly, you can use biometric authentication for accessing your vault using mobile devices. Finally,
The auto-login and auto-change features also allow users to interact with websites and input credentials without having to navigate around potentially threatening websites or services. The auto-change allows you to change passwords without navigating away from your Norton dashboard.
The one drawback to Norton Password Manager’s encryption is that they don’t provide information on the actual security standard. The FAQ states that “Norton Password Manager uses industry-standard AES encryption and TLS secure connections to your browser.” So the question remains whether it’s 256-bit or 128-bit.
Two-factor and biometric authentication
Sadly, Norton Password Manager doesn’t support two-factor authentication. At least it makes things easier for mobile users by allowing biometric authentication. This means that instead of each time typing your vault password, you can use your fingerprint. Alternatively, you can choose a 4-digit PIN code that’ll work for that particular device only.
The best part of Norton Password Manager is that it’s free, though this is about to change. Unfortunately, there are password managers with better free versions of their services. Therefore, you should be looking at this manager only if you’re already using or planning to use other Norton products.
Without 2-factor authentication and unknown encryption, Norton Password Manager offers less security than one could expect from an industry veteran. Therefore, it’s hard to recommend Norton Password Manager for any user, be it a novice or an expert.