Commercial Password Manager Test: 4 out of 9 recommendable

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 2, 2017

German testing authority Stiftung Warentest looked closely at nine commercial password managers in its most recent print issue.

The password managers that it reviewed and looked were: Dashlane Premium, McAfee True Key Premium, Keeper Security, LastPass Premium, 1Password, SafeInCloud, F-Secure Key Premium, Kaspersky Password Manager, and Enpass.

Only the first four mentioned password managers received a recommendation by the testers. All password managers were graded based on security, usability and extra features. Here is a list of things the testers put much of the focus on:

  • Master password rules, and rules for passwords that are generated and/or stored in the application, for instance the minimum and maximum length of passwords, and complexity.
  • Security features such as support for two-factor authentication, protection against third-party access, or security auditing features.
  • Documentation, and how comfortable and easy setup and daily use is.
  • Extra features such as support for saving other data, use of profiles, saving of critical data such as credit card numbers.

The testers analyzed the data sending behavior of each application furthermore by tunneling all traffic through a proxy server.

commercial password managers

The test reveals little unfortunately when it comes to the actual ratings. Only one program, F-Secure's Key Premium, received the best rating in the password requirements group, while better rated programs such as Dashlane Premium or LastPass Premium only the second best rating. It is unclear why that is the case as it is not revealed in the test.

The testers put a lot of focus on usability, as it made up 40% of the overall rating, and the application's data sending behavior was not taken into account at all.

Stiftung Warentest criticized the sending behavior of the Android application in all programs that ended on its recommendation listing. Some password managers sent data, for instance a device's ID to third parties according to Stiftung Warentest.

Keeper Security and LastPass Premium got the best overall ratings in the security group, Dashlane Premium in the usability group.

The testers looked at the password managers of web browsers as well in the test, but don't recommend using them. The two reasons given are that they don't come with password generation options, and that browsers are connected all the time to the Internet which increases the attack surface. Lastly, only some support the optional setting of a master password.

Closing Words

Only four of the nine password managing solutions received a recommendation, but those that are recommended are not necessarily the programs that are the most secure to use.

Security made up only 40% of the overall rating, with extra features making up another 20% (which could include extra security features). Usability is without doubt important, but the 40% that it contributed to a program's overall rating seems a bit high in a field where security is of utmost importance.

I would have liked a stronger focus on security features, for instance whether you may save the password databases offline only, can sync between network devices, where the data is stored, how the company reacted to security incidents in the past, whether security solutions were audited by third-parties and so on.

Last but not least, I would have liked to see a comparison to free tools like KeePass as well (which would have done well in security, not so well in usability based on test criteria).

Now You: Which password manager do you use and why? (via Deskmodder)

Commercial Password Manager Test: 4 out of 9 recommendable
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Commercial Password Manager Test: 4 out of 9 recommendable
German testing authority Stiftung Warentest looked closely at nine commercial password managers in its most recent print issue.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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