- Free forever version
- Great prices
- Data sync for premium users
- No 2FA
- No categorization
Passwords have come a long way since using the name of your pet was enough, nowadays far more complex sequences are needed to deter any potential threats. That’s why password managers are such a popular way for people to store a variety of different, complex passwords without the need to write everything down. One such example is F-Secure KEY, made by Finnish company F-Secure, who has been making internet security software since 1988, and has had success with its antivirus software and VPN service. F-Secure KEY stores your passwords, credit cards, and PIN codes securely and will notify you if your passwords aren’t strong enough. F-Secure KEY has a totally free version available, but you can test out the premium version with a 30-day free trial and upgrade at any time.
Adding passwords to F-Secure KEY is a very simple process, you have the choice between entering a password or a bank card and from there you’ll be able to input various credentials like PIN codes and card numbers – there’s also a notes section for any important information that isn’t covered by any of the other options. One feature that is sorely lacking though is the ability of grouping passwords together. You have the option to change the colors of each password so you could use this feature as a replacement but there is still no way of filtering these out, so either way you’ll have to scroll down the list or type in the name you need in the search bar.
Password generation is easy, giving users the ability to create a password of up to 32 characters (which is the default setting) and filter capital letters, numbers, or special characters if necessary. One thing we’d like to see F-Secure add in the future is a way to share passwords which many of its competitors do. F-Secure KEY has a sync function to allow you to access your passwords from other devices but it’s only available with the premium version.
F-Secure KEY gives you two choices of how you want the autofill function to work. Users have the choice between a system-wide autofill function that will automatically input usernames and passwords in your programs or using the Google Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. Of course, if you want to you can choose to not use autofill at all.
Apps & Browser Extensions
F-Secure KEY is available on macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS and, although they’re buried away within the app, there are browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox but for some reason you won’t find any mention of these extensions on the F-Secure website. Android and iOS apps have an exclusive breach alert feature that gives you news updates when a company’s data has been hacked so you’ll know that you have to change your password immediately. The mobile apps also allow you to use your fingerprint for opening the app or alternatively you can input a password.
We found that the Mac app was attractive and easy-to-use with everything in a logical place. First-time password manager users will have no problems navigating through the features. The Mac version has a taskbar icon allowing you to quickly open or lock F-Secure KEY.
Setting up F-Secure KEY is an easy process. You’ll first need to decide on a master password – obviously this is the last thing you want to forget, especially since with the way F-Secure stores your passwords it would be impossible to retrieve it afterwards. There is a backup system just in case, and though your master password will be gone forever, you can download a recovery QR code that will grant you one-time access back into your password vault. Simply scan the code, choose a new master password (and don’t forget it this time), and make sure to download your fresh recovery code.
F-Secure KEY allows you to import passwords from other password managers, with CSV, XML, and PIF files supported meaning that you’re unlikely to have a problem doing so. You’re also able to export your passwords as a plain text file to move elsewhere if needed.
Security & Privacy
F-Secure keeps your data protected with industry-standard AES-256 encryption and all fields of the password entry form are encrypted so you don’t have to worry about what you write in the notes section. As stated earlier, F-Secure has no way of accessing your master password as all passwords are locally stored – so if you forget the master password then you’re in trouble, unless you’ve set up your backup that is.
The status page of the app gives you F-Secure KEY’s analysis of your preexisting passwords, judging them either as weak, moderate, or strong. You’re informed if you’re reusing any of your passwords or if you’ve used one of the 100 most common passwords – sorry, but you can’t use password1 anymore. One thing that is a glaring omission is a lack of support for two-factor authentication, which hopefully F-Secure looks at including in the future.
The desktop versions of the app have a lock mechanism should you wish to move away from your desk and you also have the choice of having F-Secure automatically lock after five minutes or a longer chosen time frame.
There aren’t a great a deal of options for purchasing F-Secure KEY – you can subscribe to the premium version for either one or two years; the former costs $32.99 and the latter is $55.99. The two-year subscription is the best value for your money and is the equivalent of paying just $2.33 a month.
Of course, if you don’t want to pay even a single cent then there is a free forever version of F-Secure KEY, although you will lose out on some of the key features like syncing up your devices. If you want to test F-Secure KEY’s premium edition out, then there’s a 30-day free trial and all purchases with F-Secure come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
F-Secure is a big company so as you would expect, its customer service is very good. Unfortunately, 24/7 support is only reserved for its business clients, but you can still get regular support through the live chat on the website. Users also have the option of calling the F-Secure support line which is open during regular business hours and is available in multiple languages. Since there is support staff all over the world, English-speaking users will enjoy near 24/7 support thanks to F-Secure having operators in the United States, Hong Kong, and the UK. The F-Secure website also has a thorough FAQ section as well as useful, well-written guides and an active online forum.
F-Secure KEY is well worth considering with its low prices and a very strong free forever version. We particularly like how well-designed and easy-to-navigate the apps are for all platforms and everything is supported by great customer service. However, F-Secure feels light on features overall and there are some key functions missing that many of its rivals have, like the ability to group passwords together which can be frustrating for users with a large number of them. We’re also not sure why two-factor authentication is absent but hopefully it will be added in the future.
Overall though, we find F-Secure KEY to be a very reliable and secure password manager, and while users who require a large amount of data storing may find it to be a frustrating experience, it’s ideal for first-time password manager users.