One of the many interesting questions we received here at TechJunkie over the past few days is ‘I have True Key on my laptop – What is it and should I use it?’ It is interesting because the answer isn’t the usual one I give when considering installed software on new laptops.
Any new Windows laptop, regardless of cost, type or manufacturer comes with a bunch of bloatware apps that you will never use. Usually I recommend just deleting it all, slimming down the installation and just keeping the programs you will use and removing the rest. It saves disk space, can speed up boot times and declutters your computer.
True Key is different though.
What is True Key and should I use it?
True Key is a password manager provided by McAffee and will occasionally come preinstalled on new computers. Unlike most bloatware that comes with a new computer, True Key is actually pretty good at what it does and offers genuine use to the user.
True Key is a password manager that competes credibly well with the others out there. It goes up against the likes of Dashlane, LastPass, Keeper and others to keep you and your online accounts safe. It was once a standalone app but is now a browser extension and works just as well as it always has.
Password managers are a practical solution for digital security. They can generate secure passwords, securely store all of your logins and even automatically log into some websites for you. They work as a standalone and can even have browser plugins that make using them easier.
Once you begin using True Key, it will capture logins for websites and offer to securely store them, it will capture form entries and do the same. It will also offer to one-click complete if it knows the data you’re about to fill into a form.
Once you set your master password, all data True Key captures will be encrypted. You can also set multi-factor authentication to keep things even more secure. True Key works with trusted devices, trusted email verification, fingerprint or face recognition depending on what security hardware you have on your laptop.
Should you use True Key?
True Key is one of many password managers on the market. Whether you use True Key specifically or not is entirely up to you. Using a password manager is beyond question. You should always use a password manager to handle all your logins and there are some good reasons why.
Unique passwords for every website
A password manager will offer to generate secure passwords whenever it detects a login request. If it doesn’t automatically detect one, you can right click in the login window and a dialog should appear with the option to generate a login. Repeating the same username and password across multiple accounts is a sure way to lose everything. If one gets hacked, it will take seconds for all those other accounts that use the same login to be hacked too.
Difficult passwords using all four character types
As much as we might try, we all have different habits for coming up with passwords. We tend to use the same theme of movie titles, pet’s names, children’s names or whatever. Having an algorithm generate passwords means they are genuinely random and will use all four character types for extra security.
A side benefit of using a password manager is avoiding keyloggers. If you’re unfortunate enough to become infected by one, logging in using True Key or other password manager means you’re not typing your login. Instead, the app securely squirts it to the site and logs you in and the keylogger catches nothing.
Secure storage for other data too
Password managers are designed to generate and store passwords but can also do more. Some products can save forms, password data and provide secure storage for other files too. It’s a useful extra feature that can come in handy.
How does True Key stack up against the competition?
True Key is competitive in its ability to generate passwords, to securely store them and making short work of logging in. The ability to use multi-factor authentication is another strong point.
Where it falls down is in its free features. The free version will only store 15 passwords and then you need to pay $19.99 a year. It also sometimes has trouble filling in web forms and logging into some niche websites. Neither Dashlane, Keeper or LastPass limits passwords in this way. That’s a serious failing on the part of True Key as we all have many more than 15 logins we need to use.
Aside from that, True Key works on Windows, Mac, in Chrome and Firefox and performs well. If the 15 password limitation isn’t a problem for you then it is well worth using, especially if it’s preinstalled on your new laptop.