People these days are just as likely to place an online order from a smartphone or tablet as from a Windows or Mac computer.
That being the case, a password manager that’s locked into a single device isn’t much use. Recognizing that need, Trend Micro Password Manager 3.7 syncs your passwords and personal data across all of your Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices, with almost exactly the same appearance and functionality on all platforms.
It performs all the basic functions of a password manager, but it lacks the advanced features found in top products.
You can take it for a test drive at no charge, but the free edition stores only five passwords and five secure notes.
At $14.95 per year, it’s not expensive. You pay $39.99 per year for Dashlane 4.
But I do suggest taking advantage of that free, feature-limited trial to see if this is the service for you.
During the installation process you must create a Trend Micro online account, or log into an existing account.
In addition to the overall account password, you must create a master password specifically for the password manager.
As always, it should be something complex that you can remember, but that nobody would guess.
Don’t rely on the built-in password strength meter.
Any password of eight or more characters that includes all character types is accepted.
Something like “1Monkey!” gets the top rating for strength.
Next you install the browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Under Windows, this product is completely browser-centric.
The browser extension handles things like password capture and replay, and when you open the management console, it opens as a page inside your default browser. You can also log in to the console without installing the extension, perhaps when using a friend’s computer.
All three browsers have the built-in capacity to capture and replay passwords, but they’re not as secure as an actual password manager.
Trend Micro offers to hoover up the insecure browser passwords, delete them from the browser, and turn off the browser’s internal password management. Hoping to import your data from another password utility? That’s not so easy.
Trend Micro only imports from LastPass 4.0 Premium.
Capture and ReplayTo start using the password manager, you just log into secure sites as usual.
Trend Micro pops up a little window offering to save the credentials you’ve entered, with smaller links that let you skip that step once or always. LastPass, Dashlane, RoboForm Everywhere 7, and many others let you enter a friendly name for the entry at this time, and assign it to a folder. With Trend Micro, you must click a link to edit the new entry if you want to put it in a folder or choose something other than the default name.
In testing, I found a number of sites for which Trend Micro simply would not capture my login credentials. LastPass, Sticky Password Premium, RoboForm, and a few others include specialized tools for handling non-standard login pages.
Trend Micro does not.
When you return to one of the sites for which you captured credentials, the password manager offers to fill in that data.
If you’ve saved more than one set, you get to pick the one you want from a drop-down list. New in this edition, the most recently used is selected by default in that list.
When you click the browser extension’s toolbar button, it displays a colorful list of your saved sites. You can sort the list by name or by recent usage, with any items related to the current site automatically placed at the top.
Alternatively, each character you type in the search box narrows the displayed list to items that contain what you’ve typed.
And of course clicking an item navigates to the site and logs you in.
Password GeneratorSince you have Trend Micro to remember passwords for you, there’s no need to think up a password when you create a new account. Just let the password generator do it for you.
The generator defaults to using all four character types (uppercase letters, lowercase letters, digits, and symbols), which is good. However, you should crank up the password length from its default of eight characters to at least 12, or 16, or even more. Hey, you don’t have to remember the password.
Dashlane defaults to 12, and KeePass 2.34 creates 20-character passwords by default.
Password DoctorGetting Trend Micro to remember all of your passwords is a good thing, but if those passwords all consist of your schnauzer’s name, you’ve got more work to do. When you open Trend Micro’s management console it displays two big stats at the top—the total number of passwords, and the number of unsafe passwords.
If the latter is non-zero, a link to the Password Doctor appears.
Following that link gets you two lists, one of weak passwords and one of passwords you’ve used more than once.
As noted earlier, this program sets a pretty low bar for defining a strong password.
If it says your password is weak, it’s really weak.
Clicking the Improve Now button logs in to the site, leaving you to make the necessary change.
The same is true of sites that use the same password.
You get a more substantial security report from Dashlane’s Security Dashboard or LastPass’s Security Challenge.
The resulting reports list all of your passwords, with a percent-based strength rating for each.
These two products can also automatically update you to stronger passwords for many popular websites. LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Ultimate also has the ability to update passwords automatically.
Web Form FillingThere’s not a huge difference between filling in your credentials on a login page and filling in your address and contact details on a Web form. Like many password managers, Trend Micro lets you enter your personal details and use them to automatically fill in address, contact, and payment information.
LastPass lets you define multiple identities and multiple credit card entries. With Dashlane you can define multiple entries of each data type, perhaps entering three phone numbers and four emails, for example. When you click in a field, it offers a menu of available choices.
I’m especially impressed with its handling of credit cards, which display as images using the color and bank logo you specify. RoboForm also allows multiples of all field types.
Trend Micro, by contrast, limits you to just a single profile, and a single entry for each field.
When you click in a field it recognizes, it displays a button that you can click to fill the form automatically. Hovering over the button offers a preview of just which fields it can fill. New in this edition, you can turn off this feature if you don’t want to see that button.
To test this feature, I selected items on the Target website and went to check out as a guest, but Trend Micro didn’t fill the form.
The same happened on a Walmart website, and on a site designed to test form-fill products.
Given that other products do fill in these forms, I figured that this feature wasn’t working in Trend Micro.
With help from my company contacts, I learned that was incorrect.
They showed me some sites where it did fill in most of the fields. My contacts confirmed that, as with filling login credentials, Trend Micro doesn’t handle nonstandard forms.
Those are major retailers, however—their omission feels like an oversight.
For a sanity check, I tried those sites using LastPass and Dashlane; both of them filled the Web forms correctly.
Bonus FeaturesWhen the browser extension detects that you’re about to visit a known financial site, it offers to open that site in a secure browser. Presuming you accept, it captures your login credentials as always.
Thereafter, it opens the financial site in the secure browser without asking.
The secure browser is based on Chrome, but doesn’t support extensions other than Trend Micro, doesn’t let you change settings, and offers a bare minimum of controls.
There’s no Address Bar, just forward, back, refresh, zoom, and print.
It also reportedly has a feature to derail man-in-the-middle attacks, but my hacking skills aren’t honed enough to put that feature to the test.
You wouldn’t know it without reading the documentation, but this product also comes with a Keystroke Encryption Tool.
I found it by tapping the Windows key and typing “keystroke.” To use it, you type in your password, click a button to copy that password to the clipboard, and paste it into the password field before a timer runs out.
I verified that it prevented a popular keylogger from capturing keystrokes, but that same keylogger snagged the password out of the clipboard, unfortunately. Your best bet is to employ powerful antivirus software to keep the keylogger from loading in the first place.
As noted, the product’s interface and features are almost identical on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
The Keystroke Encryption Tool is Windows-only, but that’s not a big deal. Previously the mobile editions were stuck in portrait mode. Now the more-readable landscape mode is available for Android and iOS tablets.
Adding to the existing Touch ID support for iOS, fingerprint support is now available on Android as well.
A Basic Password ManagerTrend Micro Password Manager 3.7 handles all the basics.
It captures passwords as you log in, plays them back when needed, and offers a browser menu of all your saved logins.
It keeps secure notes for you, and helps you fill Web forms.
It even offers a secure browser for your financial sites. On the downside, it’s baffled by unusual login pages and Web forms, and it lacks advanced features such as two-factor authentication, secure credential sharing, automatic password update, and digital legacy (naming someone to inherit your passwords).
If you get this password manager free as part of Trend Micro Maximum Security, by all means use it.
But if you’re a paying customer, consider our Editors’ Choice password manager utilities, Dashlane 4, LastPass 4.0 Premium, and Sticky Password Premium.
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