Norton Identity Safe Beta, PC And Mobile Password Manager

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 2, 2012
Updated • Feb 2, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows software

Password managers are essential tools to stay safe on the Internet. Most offer a lot more than just saving passwords in a secure database. My personal favorite KeePass for instance can generate secure passwords, export or import some or all into various other formats, integrate with web browsers to make the login more comfortable or save form and other important information safely as well.

Symantec has recently launched Norton Identity Safe, a password manager for Windows PCs as well as Android and Apple iOS mobile devices. The program ships with browser extensions for all five popular browsers (Opera, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari).

Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 users may already know the program as it is integrated into their applications. Everyone else can download a free copy of the password manager from the Norton website.

The program stores password information in the cloud like Last Pass, another password management service, does. When you compare the two services you will notice that Last Pass has an edge over Norton's tool, as it supports features like automatic form filling, a portable mode or 2-factor authentication. Some of those are on the other hand only available for Last Pass Premium account users who pay $12 per year for that service.

Norton's Identity Safe on the other hand ships with Norton Safe Web which informs you about unsafe websites that you are about to visit. Norton Safe web Life then again is available for free.

Here is a short table comparing core features of both products:

password manager comparison

All Norton Identity Safe logins, notes and cards are saved with a master password that you need to create during setup. Norton requires you to use at least one upper and lower character, one number and one special char for the master passwords.

Toolbars are installed in all supported browsers automatically during installation, with no option to block the installation in some browsers. The toolbar is unfortunately not compatible with all browser versions. It failed to install for instance in Firefox Aurora.

norton identity safe

The toolbar displays a search form, Safe Web, Identity Safe and sharing options. The search links to a custom Norton search engine. The Identity Safe button in the toolbar appears to be the only option to control the password manager. I closed the toolbar in Chrome and could not get it to open up again as there were no options to do so.

The menu links to the Identity Safe homepage, settings, a log in list that is directly accessible from the menu and options to log out of the password manager.

The password manager interface displays the password strength of the selected password. Here it is also possible to define whether the password information should be filled out automatically when the page is visited, whether a prompt for the master password should be displayed before that's happening, and whether the program should you log in automatically if you select the login from the list.

norton password manager

The password manager works as expected most of the time. I had troubles getting it to work in Internet Explorer 9 though. The toolbar displayed fine in the browser, but new passwords and log ins were not recognized by the program.

Norton Identity Safe is an alternative to Last Pass, especially for users who want mobile access to their log in information. Most users will have troubles getting their stored passwords into the program in first place, which will keep many from using it (unless they use Internet Explorer for that).

The lack of browser selection during installation, missing form filling support, lack of frontend on the desktop and several bugs should keep most users from using it as their main password manager.

The Norton Identity Beta website offers no information on the future of the product. Will the final version remain free, or will it be turned into a commercial software that users have to pay for?

Have you tried Norton Identity Safe? If so, what's your impression?


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  1. Violator said on March 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Norton Identity Safe works on all pages, unlike Last Pass which is pita on loads of pages and also rather bad at pasting in the correct data when you have multible subdomains stored for the same domain.

  2. Jon said on February 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Hey Brown, thanks for the feedback..funny thing is although I exclusively use Firefox as my Desktop browser I was unaware that they offered a mobile it me or perhaps they should get their marketing dept. on

    Anyway, did a little detective work and as with most desktop apps, their mobile browser is not wowing anyone..lot’s of negative feedback on ff’s latest mobile update.

    So, I did download Dolphin and when exploring their “Add-On” features, like the Reader, I saw a lot of recent negative reviews regarding their most recent upgrade..not a good sign to me as it appears that a lot of these companies, in trying to do the right thing, have a habit of messing up this part.

    Anyway, I’ll play with Dolphin and Last Pass..although I’m not thrilled about Last Pass indicating a Free offering when in reality it’s not free..and it’s not about how inexpensive it might be but the fact that they clearly state “Free”..not cool..and a lot of others feel the same way about they not realize how bad that looks?

    But bottom line is if I like Opera, the good people at Roboform should start offering partnership Add-On deals like Last Pass provides with Dolphin..might have to make the switch..

    Thanks again,


  3. Jon said on February 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    What surprises me most is that nobody addresses the key flaw of all these Password “Managers” as they apply to mobile devices. And from what I’ve experienced, it is that you have to access websites through their browsers.

    I pay for a Roboform license that allows me to utilize their mobile product but it doesn’t work like their desktop version that offers to fill Login fields no matter what browser.

    I use Opera on my Android Phone and it’s incredibly annoying that I have to leave that browser, go back and click on my Roboform Mobile icon, dig up the required login data, go back to Opera and then manually input this data…Are you kidding me? Why doesn’t anyone mention this huge flaw?

    And Last Pass acts the same way……….

    And lastly, I can’t even utilize Roboform on Apps like Financial Sites(Ameritrade for example). How annoying is that?

    Anyway, I know many around the web have expressed similar dissatisfaction with the Mobile versions of their favorite Desktop Password Managers.

    So, it’s inevitable that some sharp vendor/software provider is going to eventually offer a solution to this huge void in the mobile realm and you know what, their going to get the desktop business too..

    If someone could provide me the above stated functionality on my Mobile Password manager, I’d switch from Roboform(both Desktop and Mobile) so fast they wouldn’t know what hit them..Remember, with Roboform it’s now $21/year..not thrilled with that either so I’m just itching for a reason to leave.


    1. browngeek said on February 27, 2012 at 3:34 am

      Re your question about any password integrating with mobile, Lastpass is very good. On my Android I use Dolphin Browser, which has a Lastpass plugin. The Lastpass plugin integrates very well with the browser and allows you to autofill passwords. The Lastpass app also allows you to cut and paste passwords to use with other apps. Finally, Lastpass comes with a keyboard which lets you autofill certain apps (although personally am not such a great fan of the Lastpass keyboard option).

      I also think the Firefox Android app allows for plugins, although I haven’t tried with Lastpass.

  4. Usman said on February 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I have always fallen back to my favorite KeePass after testing every new password manager including Norton Safe. I think KeePass is the best and the safest.

  5. Morely the IT Guy said on February 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    If Identity Safe works as well as Norton Anti-Virus and Norton Internet Security, you might as well use “password” for all your passwords and save some cash.

  6. acr said on February 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I may try this just because of the Norton search results and web site checking. I mainly use Chrome and this sounds like the only Norton search tool that will work with the Chromium based browsers. I would use LastPass over Norton any day of the week for the password program as Norton’s beta product could turn into payware or simply go belly up at any second. Remember the Norton UAC tool for Vista that worked so great (it really did)…no such tool for Windows 7. And IIRC it never officially made it out of Norton Labs. Plus if the program was installed in Vista it caused a BSOD when trying to upgrade to Windows 7 – took a while to figure out what was going wrong. I’m skeptical of Norton products and ditched their DNS service after web sites with articles critical of Norton products were unable to be accessed with the Norton DNS service installed.

  7. Joe Rahall said on February 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I have used Roboform for 10 years. It is more robust and has more features than either of these two altrnatives.

    I am going to stick with Roboform

  8. Sid said on February 2, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Martin.
    I have used Identity Safe since its introduction. Though I agree that on many occasions, LastPass works better, Identity Safe has improved over time & its a very good option for a password manager.
    Yes, a password generator will make it better, IMO. I also think that Symantec shold keep it free – otherwsie it’ll be like you’re locked out of your own [critical] data, unless you pay up.

  9. Jenita said on February 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

    password manager software, that stores passwords in a highly-encrypted database. Protects from keyloggers, malware, and other threats.

  10. browngeek said on February 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

    True, true, you do get the mobile service as well for free.

    Seems Next Web are trying to promote a service called Dashline:

  11. browngeek said on February 2, 2012 at 8:05 am

    You really think this is an alternative to Lastpass? Yes, maybe a very poor alternative. Lastpass does so much more, even the free version, compared to the Norton version.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 2, 2012 at 9:32 am

      It is still an alternative. Plus, you get mobile clients without having to pay for them, at least in the beta. From a user perspective though, I’d pick Last Pass over the Norton tool any time of the day.

  12. Jenita said on February 2, 2012 at 5:57 am

    password manager is software that helps a user organize passwords and PIN codes. The software typically has a local database or a file that holds the encrypted password data for secure log on onto computers, networks, web sites and application data files.

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