Symantec Intros Free Norton Identity Safe Service

On Monday, Symantec pulled the plug on its NDA early and revealed Norton Identity Safe, an extremely handy tool for the PC, Mac and mobile devices that stores user names and passwords in the cloud for free. This eliminates the need of keeping physical lists or using the same password for multiple websites and services.

"Recent Norton research found that 70 percent of people have forgotten a password in the past month," Symantec said on Monday. "That may explain why people often resort to using weak passwords based on their pet’s name, family member’s name or birthday.  However, this puts consumers at risk of identity theft and loss of personal information when a hacker cracks one obvious password and gains access to all of their accounts.  Others keep a physical list of passwords at home – not much use for the 48 percent of people who access online accounts on-the-go from their mobile device."

According to Symantec, Norton Identity Safe synchronizes information across platforms and devices, eliminating the need to remember multiple user names, passwords, contact information, and credit card numbers.  It also allows users to access their credentials anywhere they go, and helps consumers protect their identities and avoid potentially risky sites by letting them know whether a site is safe to visit directly from their search results. Even more, it allows users to safely share online content by sending URLs through email and social networking plugins, directly from Norton Identity Safe.

"Too often, people turn to bad password habits – using the same easy password for all of their accounts or writing down a list of passwords and taping it to the computer," said Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate.  "Even though passwords have been around for a long time, the sheer number we all have to remember is constantly increasing.  Norton Identity Safe is a simple, secure way to keep track of your personal information, no matter where you go or what device you use."

Norton Identity Safe is now available for PCs, Mac computers, iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad, and Android devices. Download the software by October 1, 2012 and get the service free of charge forever. No strings attached. Why? Because the firm is probably trying to eliminate the current personal info theft crisis caused by stolen passwords and user names, offering a free cloud-based storage solution to help eliminate the problem. The only worry consumers would seemingly have now is whether their info is protected if Symantec's servers were ever breached.

Yet there is a small catch: Web surfers interested in using this service must create a Norton account. After that, they must also create a separate master password for the "online vault" containing all the login info. "It's critical that you don't forget this password, because we won't store it and won't be able to retrieve it for you," Symantec warns during installation. Guess we need another password manager to keep track of the password manager?

In Firefox, Symantec's tool appears as a toolbar (like we need more of those). It automatically saves information entered into login screens such as Facebook, Twitter and other sites, and displays a notification that the info is stored in the cloud. The toolbar also contains an Internet search field, a Home button leading to a Symantec page with shortcut tiles, a Share button for sharing links on various sites, and a Vault button for editing settings and more. Even more, the toolbar will insert a "Norton Secured" icon next to search results as Symantec claims, indicating that a link has been tested and approved by Symantec.

For more information about Norton Identity Safe, head here.

  • alvine
    I refuse to use norton
  • K2N hater
    It's a bit like traditional insurance in a modern wrapping. If none gets their passwords stolen they claim it's a great product otherwise they can always get their lawyers to blame the users.
  • JDFan
    And how long will it be before all of the passwords they have stored end up getting hacked or one of their employees winds up forgetting to secure the data leaving it available for everyone to see ! (and since they are giving the service away for free what recourse will be available if someone does wind up with your info ?)
  • sigma3d
    No thanks. Even if they pay for me. I wont use it...
  • docken02
    What a great idea! I can store all of my sensitive login information in the cloud. I'm sure those servers are impenetrable and will never be hacked.
    I want control of my information at all times.
  • garry67_67
    I think I'll stick with RoboForm since they actually been around 10 years
  • anonymous_user
    Would be interesting to see how this compares to LastPass.
  • Bulldog17
    Not for me thanks: 1) two different passwords needed before you can access your saved passwords; 2) installs a toolbar; 3) marks up search results; 4) no built-in password generator; 5) doesn't import passwords from non-Symantec products; 6) can't specify a new or existing group at the time of creating a password - that's a separate step; 7) entering credit card info after the first one is awkward - duplicate an existing identity card, give it a new nickname, and change the credit card data; 8) an inforbar slides in and out when manually logging in to a website - you need to catch it in time to stop the login from being saved.
  • Totally late idea - all popular browsers allow for syncing user profiles, including password lists, between devices on-line. Norton offers no incentive over the built-in functionality, furthermore requiring you to install additional software. The only area where 3rd-party initiatives like this could gain advantage is offering interoperability between the syncing platforms of different browsers so you're not reliant on the browser migration capabilities when changing browsers or when using different browsers home vs. mobile.
  • This is what lastpass does already. But competition is good, I suppose!