Password Managers Guard Mobile Browsing

Password Managers Guard Mobile Browsing

More and more, people are using smart phones to access online applications as well as Web sites, and this shift is creating demand for applications to keep track of the many passwords and other sensitive information we need to manage our business and personal lives.

Password management applications have long been available for desktop and laptop computers, and now that functionality is offered by a variety of apps designed for mobile devices.

The most effective password management applications will use a web service that automatically syncs password data with your mobile device. Because it can be difficult to enter a strong password on a mobile device, it's easier and more effective to use the web service or desktop application to generate the password, which will then be synced automatically to the mobile application.

While specific features will vary from application to application, most password managers will store Web site user identities and passwords as well as confidential information such as credit cards, licenses or social security numbers.

This data is typically stored in an encrypted format and protected by at least one password (most use a PIN code to unlock the application as well as a master password) to prevent discovery if the mobile device is lost or stolen.

Some applications either have a built-in browser or coordinate with the smart phone's browser to allow users to automatically load and log into a saved Web site. This feature can save users considerable time if they interact with Web applications routinely on their wireless handsets.

Password management apps typically can also generate strong random passwords that offer a higher degree of online protection than most of our passwords.

Because these stronger passwords are difficult to think of and even harder to remember, password management apps can generate and store strong passwords on your behalf. When you try to log into a password-protected site, the password manager either submits the password or allows you to copy it and paste it into the Web site's password field.

To protect this random password against accidental loss or deletion, password managers have a backup function that allows you to download your security data to a PC and restore it to the mobile device.

Popular choices include Dashlane, LastPass, Keeper, 1Password and others.