Computer users are already well-served by password managers that bristle with features for little or no cost, which means Trend Micro DirectPass needs to offer considerably more than it currently does to be worth a tenner a year
Passwords have long been the bane of computer users — they need to be unique, memorable, not too easy to guess, and are best constructed from a mix of numbers, symbols and different-case letters. The obvious problem here is that “memorable” and “9F9^k79}UzxtZo#B” really don’t go together, particular when that’s just one of a dozen passwords in use.
Desktop web browsers can save passwords, of course, but these can be accessed if you haven’t secured your Windows user account itself with a secure password. It’s also no good if you want to access your saved passwords from a smartphone. That’s where a third-party password manager comes in, and while there are already plenty to choose from, Trend Micro thinks there’s room for one more.
Trend Micro DirectPass 1.0 costs £10 a year and can be installed on any number of Windows PCs. It runs both as a standalone program and as a web browser extension, but only Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome are supported. A compulsory, but free, Trend Micro account is required to complete the installation, which is then used to sync saved data via the cloud to instances of the program running on other PCs or smartphones. A secure DirectPass program password is also required, but, if everything goes according to plan, this should be the only one you’ll then have to remember.
On first run, DirectPass assumes there are passwords to import from a web browser, but doesn’t allow a particular browser to be specified if more than one is installed. The DirectPass browser extension then sits in the background, waiting for a web page with a login form to be opened. When this happens, the extension will offer either to auto-fill the appropriate credentials if they’re already saved, or save the credentials once they’ve been used for a successful log-in.