Rehan HoodaDec 03, 2016 11:05:47 IST
Mobile apps are the cornerstone of the smartphone experience, regardless of the platform that one may use. There has been a lot of talk about the whole moving away from apps to services model with the focus on different type of interactions with machines, AI and services with the imminent arrival of bots. But, bots and the full AI experience as portrayed by HAL 9000 in Space Odyssey or Jarvis in Iron Man still seems a distant dream. Apps, manual input of content and effort will still be around until AI services are improved and self-contained with privacy instead of current 'need to send everything to a server to make sense.'
To begin with, a lot of development has been happening around cyber security. Specially with demonetisation and lot of people moving online for their banking needs, the need to have secure passwords is pertinent. We have seen that despite numerous reports, instructions and advice by experts and services about the need to create a solid password, majority of the passwords are either 'Password' or '12345'. Thankfully most services which value consumer data security and privacy have mandatory instructions about the number of lower case characters, upper case characters, numbers and special characters should be added to a password.
As the number of digital services increase, the number of passwords and sensitive details like the backup security answers or password recovery code needs to be store also increases. Which the increasing amount of data, the need for password wallets or password managers is paramount. Enpass comes to fit the space brilliantly well.
I have been using the app since last 2-3 years and have seen it all, right from rebranding of the UI to republishing the Android app. Enpass is brilliant in every way and has grown with each update. The app is available on a wide range of platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows UWP, MacOS, Windows PC, Linux and Chromebook along with a portable pen drive version. The company has also added support for Android Watch and it can be enabled in the Android Watch menu under settings in the Android app.
The app is free to download, however, the mobile apps, for iOS, Android and Blackberry, the company has put a restriction on the number of saved passwords that one can see. The free mobile version of the app only allows users to use and see 20 passwords in your database and beyond that you will need to purchase the app.
Enpass includes a powerful password generator which lets you generate passwords and save them. It also allows you to tweak the 'Recipe' of the password to add in digits, symbols and characters. The app developer has added fingerprint API support for Android and TouchID support for iOS along with an Enpass keyboard for Android where you can authenticate and enter login details in any app using the autofill of the keyboard. Also, the company has added 'tap to enter login details' in the app. This feature dubbed as 'Enpass Autofill Service' uses the Android Accessibility feature and gives you a 'Tap to fill' notification in the notification drawer.
While adding a new password, it will ask you to select the category of the password where the app provides a template for the data that you can store. You can change the icon of the password to match your service and also add new Field or reorder fields according to your preference.
The exception system of the app is a combination of open source and proprietary code to maximize the security. AES-256 is an industrial standard used by military and 24,000 rounds of PBKDF2 provides users advanced protection against brute force and side channel attacks.
The app comes with a built-in browser where you can browse the web and Enpass takes care of all the passwords you will use on the internet. The app gives the option to change the User Agent String in the app along with the search engine of the browser. You can open the app and copy passwords and paste them on other apps, but also adds an option to clear the clipboard after specified time.
The most important feature of the app and which I love is the app gives you an option to store the data file on the cloud service of your liking and nothing is stored on Enpass servers. All the data is encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption with 24,000 rounds of PBKDF2 and open-source SQLCipher encryption engine. You can store it on your Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, Folder or WebDAV or ownCloud. Before you start, you are required to set a Master Password which will be used to unlock the encrypted data file. Once set and running, you can set a pin code or fingerprint under the security section.
Even though the app is overall solid and the developer issues updated regularly to introduce new features and fix bugs, I wish that the Enpass Keyboard experience is improved to ensure that one doesn't have to authenticate the app 2-3 times to enter two simple details.
Another important feature is the option to backup as well as restore the data over Wi-Fi, which means you can keep the data on a secure pen drive or hard drive and restore and backup the new passwords to the database to external storage or a secure private Wi-Fi. The app is free on desktop and costs $9.99 per platform and I have purchased it on all the mobile platforms that I use. Though $9.99 is slightly on steep side, the amount of functionality offered by the app does complete justice to the pricing.
Do let us know any apps worth recommending in the comments section below.
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