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Get Norton Identity Safe free for all platforms

This Web-credentials manager is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It's not the best product in its class, but the price is right.


Norton Identity Safe is not a password manager in the traditional sense. It's more of a log-in manager, able to automatically plug in your username and password when you sign into various sites that require them -- all the while keeping that info secure and synced.

Originally, the software came bundled with various Norton security suites, but now it's a standalone product with a surprising (for Symantec) price. As long as you grab it before October 1, you can get Norton Identity Safe absolutely free.

The tool is available not only for Windows and Mac, but also Android and iOS. It's a direct competitor to the likes of LastPass and RoboForm, the latter a $30 product.

However, those tools include a feature I consider essential: a desktop password manager that can be used to organize more than just Web credentials. Norton Identity Safe can do likewise, maintaining things like credit card numbers and software registration codes, but you need your browser and Internet access if you want to retrieve them.

As for the Android and iOS apps, they're basically replacement Web browsers with hooks to your Norton Vault, accessing and inserting your stored credentials when necessary. That's not the same thing as an actual password manager (something I rely on almost every day), though it's definitely handy.

Now that you know what Norton Identity Safe isn't, let's talk about what it is: a pretty decent identity manager, especially for PC/Mac users. It helps you create a robust master password to lock down your vault (i.e., all your other passwords), and it includes safe-surfing protections similar to Web of Trust: Search results are tagged with green or red icons to indicate safe or unsafe sites.

The toolbar can detect fraudulent sites (like those used for phishing) and steer you clear of them. There's also a "share" option on the toolbar that lets you share the current page via social networks and e-mail, but it appears only when the page in question has been certified safe. That's one way to help stop the spread of unsafe links.

So here's the upshot: If you're not currently using an identity manager, you should be -- it makes site access faster, easier, and more secure. And Norton Identity Safe, while not as full-featured as some products, works well and costs nothing. At the very least, it's worth a try.

Of course, if you are using an identity manager and have an opinion you want to share, hit the comments. And if you want to see Norton Identity Safe in action, check out Symantec's promo video below.