Steganos Password Manager Review
Steganos has been in the game a long time, but sorrowfully the password manager has some issues greener competitors have overcome. It doesn't make use of the cloud and the interface is confusing at best. That said, its pricing and multi-user functionality is bound to get it a few fans.
Steganos is a local password manager that doesn’t have the chops to make it into our best password manager guide. While it doesn’t make any major errors, it maintains an outdated password management system that can’t contend with today’s offerings.
In this Steganos Password Manager review, we’re going to talk about everything we liked and didn’t like after spending time with the most recent version. We’ll discuss features, pricing, user-friendliness, security and support before giving our verdict.
While Steganos can perform basic password management functions, it is difficult to justify compared to more robust options. Even so, it has a low, one-time rate and supports up to five devices. It’s a solid value, if light on features.
If you want to learn about the other products Steganos offers, make sure to read our Steganos Online Shield review.
- Extremely secure
- Mobile & desktop apps
- Automatic password changer
- No multi-device sync on free plans
- Difficult to set and manage categories
- Family & business plans available
- Hardware two-factor authentication
- 24/7 support
- No free plan
- Ugly interface
- Easy to use
- Free plan
- Security challenge
- Lackluster support
- No universal password changer
- One-time fee
- Supports up to 5 devices
- Easy to use
- Secured with AES 256-bit
- Portable password storage
- Local only
- Requires cloud storage subscription
- Lacking features
- Little support
- Missed in form capture tests
- Import tests failed
Steganos Password Manager doesn’t have many features and, considering the price, that’s not a bad thing. That said, it doesn’t provide cloud storage, meaning you’ll have to go out of your way to access passwords on all your devices.
Its function is to encrypt your passwords locally. That is done through keychain files, which Steganos stores on your machine after they are encrypted with AES 256-bit. You can share keychain files across Windows devices and with iOS and Android applications, but you’ll need to use a third-party service to do so.
Steganos automatically integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and MagentaCLOUD (read our Dropbox review). If you want to use another cloud storage service, such as Sync.com, our pick for the best cloud storage provider, you can, but you’ll have to download and import the keychain files manually. Read our Sync.com review if you’re interested in that service.
If you want to go manual, you can create a portable version of your keychains. Steganos can save a keychain to a USB drive, which can then be used on any machine that has a copy of the software. The keychain file is encrypted by a password, so even if someone got hold of it, they wouldn’t be able to do anything with the data.
Steganos has a feature called PicPass, which uses a series of pictures instead of a password for your keychain. When you create a keychain, you’ll be asked to choose a series of pictures and confirm your selection.
Then, instead of entering a password when you open that keychain, you’ll select the same sequence of pictures.
While that makes it easier to remember your master password, it is far less secure. Each photo accounts for one character in your password, and the character that’s assigned to each photo is static. It’s quite easy to figure out which characters are tied to which photos and crack any keychain secured that way.
Because of the way Steganos is set up, there are only a few more features. You can share passwords, for example, but you’d need to export a keychain and manually give it to someone. It lacks the cloud integration that other password managers have, which makes it feel shallow and clunky.
Steganos only has one password management product available and, unlike most of its competitors, it doesn’t use a subscription model. You pay a one-time fee for the most recent release, which, at the time of writing, is version 20.
You can keep the software forever, only paying when you want to update to a new version. That will save you money in the long run, and Steganos’s low start-up cost means you might save immediately, especially if you’re eyeballing more costly options, such as Dashlane. Read our Dashlane review to see why we think the price is worth it, though.
| Password Manager|
$ 2.08 / month
Other options, such as LastPass, are around the same price for a year’s worth of service (read our LastPass review). While that cost renews every 12 months, you’ll get the updates released during that period. With Steganos, on the other hand, you’re stuck without.
Compared to other password managers that have a one-time fee, Steganos does well. Password Depot, for example, offers a similar application for twice the price, as you can read in our Password Depot review.
Though your wallet will thank you, there are downsides to the pricing model. Password managers charge an ongoing fee out of necessity. It costs money to maintain the servers your passwords are stored on and your subscription is what funds that.
Steganos does not provide cloud storage with your plan. You can store your passwords locally or use a cloud storage provider, such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. That is the only way you can sync between devices.
You do have to pay a subscription fee to use Steganos Password Manager to its fullest potential. That money is just going to a cloud storage provider. When all is said and done, you’re unlikely to save much money.
The application can support up to five Windows devices. There are applications for iOS and Android and, thankfully, they don’t count toward your five-device limit. It’s disqualified from our best password manager for Mac guide, though, because it doesn’t support that platform.
It also can’t make our best free password manager guide because there isn’t a free plan. Steganos offers a generous 30-day trial that doesn’t require a credit card, but a free, restricted version of the application would still be nice to see.
Steganos provides a password management experience that’s primarily on the desktop. The local application is simple to get around, but many of the features aren’t easy to find. It would benefit from a short tutorial on how to use the system.
Your vault is organized into keychains, which are essentially different vaults. The application is barren when you first open it and blocks you from adding passwords or changing any entries. We uninstalled it a couple of times thinking that was a bug, but we were incorrect.
A keychain file needs to be created before you can add entries. That isn’t explained during setup or anywhere in support. While it seems like a bone-headed mistake in hindsight, we imagine we’re not the only ones to fall victim to it. Steganos doesn’t behave like a normal password manager and some indication of how to get started is in order.
You can create a new keychain by selecting “file,” then “new.” Steganos will ask you to create a password for your keychain, and it will be stored locally on your machine. You can move the location of your keychain file and create a backup in the settings. You can also setup two-factor authentication with the best 2FA apps when you make a new keychain.
Once your keychain is created, you can start adding passwords. Steganos supports importing, but we couldn’t get it to work. We tried importing our Chrome passwords, as well as a .csv exported with LastPass. Both of them failed. Steganos lists KeePass and 1Password for import, so you may have better luck with those.
Adding entries manually isn’t bad. The entry you create depends on the tab you have selected. For example, a password entry will be created if you’re in the “passwords” tab and a credit card entry will be created if you’re in the “credit cards” tab.
The entry forms are simple, but can’t be customized. Unlike with 1Password, you’re limited to the fields Staganos gives you. There are a few useful options, such as a reminder of when to change a password, but it’s otherwise standard.
When you create an entry, you can specify a category for it to be stored in. That is the only way you can organize keychains and it works well. Categories are added to a drop-down menu in the interface and shared across your tabs.
Using Steganos Password Manager
Steganos is easy to use, but it has a dated system that makes it feel like a lesser product compared to modern password managers. It will automatically save passwords in your vault when you log in to a new website. That doesn’t require user input, but it also means you can’t select what’s stored and what isn’t.
Plus, Steganos only detects the field, not a successful login attempt. If you enter the incorrect password on a website, Steganos will update your entry with it. You can turn that off in the settings, but then you lose the benefit of password capture while browsing. A simple prompt, instead of an assumption, would make the system work.
The browser experience has other problems. Outside of the desktop application, you also get a browser extension and widget. We haven’t heard a peep from widgets since Windows Vista, but Steganos decided to include one with its most recent version.
The extension attempts auto-fill, but it doesn’t do a great job. Login pages with no more than a username and password field are fine, but anything more complex causes Steganos to fail. That’s the only function the extension performs, too. It can’t generate passwords or show your entries.
If auto-fill fails, you’ll have to use the widget. It has a drop-down menu that shows the passwords in your selected keychain. There are three buttons that correspond to your username, password and URL. Clicking and dragging to a field will fill the information in automatically.
That worked every time we tried, but it isn’t much more convenient than copying and pasting. The same process can be done using the interface, and you’ll be forced to do it from there if you’re filling in a credit card or address field.
There are a few more things you can do in the interface. The cloud icon in the top right corner allows you to link a cloud storage service to your account. Steganos stores an encrypted copy of your keychain in that service. It supports Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and MagentaCLOUD. If you want multi-device sync, you’ll need to connect to a cloud service.
Next to the cloud icon, there’s a gear icon. That is where you can access Steganos’s more advanced settings, including automatic sign-in, portable password export, the widget and the virtual keyboard.
Steganos isn’t difficult to use. A password manager’s purpose is to make the browsing experience more user-friendly, though, and it fails on that front. It uses a dated system that’s never fully explained.
Everything with Steganos is stored locally, so there are no interception concerns. There are worries about desktop-based threats, though. Cybercrime and, in particular, ransomware — which you can learn about in our what is ransomware guide — is a concern for the password manager, as any malware that affects your files will also affect your keychains.
Your keychains are secured with a master password or a series of pictures using PicPass. We already discussed the security risks associated with PicPass, so, needless to say, we don’t recommend it. The keychain is then encrypted with AES 256-bit and stored on your machine.
If you’re already using the best antivirus software, you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you’re running unprotected, storing your keychains locally leaves you vulnerable to desktop-based malware. Make sure you’re using an antivirus, such as Bitdefender, to protect yourself (read our Bitdefender review). You could just go cheap and use the best free antivirus software, too.
Steganos includes a few security features to protect against screen spying and keyloggers. You can use the virtual keyboard any time you create a new entry or enter the password for a keychain. The virtual keyboard also has a character randomizer to protect against mouse-click logging.
Since it is a feature already included with modern operating systems, though, the virtual keyboard isn’t that impressive.
Your keychains can be backed up and synced with a cloud storage provider. Encryption for that still happens locally. Once the keychain file has been encrypted, it is sent to the cloud storage provider of your choice, meaning it can’t read the data inside. If you’re using the best zero-knowledge cloud storage, that isn’t a concern, anyway.
Security isn’t a big issue because you’re in charge of everything concerning your passwords, but that leaves some room for error. A keychain export can be stolen, desktop-based malware can see and snatch your passwords and PicPass provides a far less secure method of authentication.
Steganos isn’t doing anything wrong in security, though. Your data is encrypted with one of the strongest ciphers available. That said, the system it establishes has inherent flaws, so make sure you’re protected on multiple fronts.
Trying to find support on Steganos’s website is a vain effort. After scouring, we were unable to locate the small list of articles on the password manager, even though we’re certain they’re there. Your best bet is to use the question mark symbol in the top right of the desktop user interface.
While we tested version 20, Steganos only had articles for version 19. Thankfully, the topics seem more or less the same for both. The only issue was finding documentation for the new features.
The topics are basic, such as how to sync devices and import existing keychains. There’s little detail, no step-by-step instruction and no screenshots. The article list is small, too, only covering a few topics.
Direct support has problems, too. You can submit a request through the “service” tab on Steganos’s website. We reached out via email and have yet to hear back 48 hour later. Our question was basic, too, which makes the longer-than-normal timeframe worse.
Support is subpar, but it’s hard for us to fault Steganos. Much of the application is in your hands and, outside of some strange errors that are covered in the knowledgebase, you’re unlikely to have many problems.
Steganos puts you in the driver’s seat and, because of that, we can’t fault it for much. The inherent security flaws and usability problems from a local password manager are still there, and we doubt there’s much Steganos can do to fix them.
If you’re looking for a local password manager, it does the job better than Password Depot. Even so, it has problems in usability and isn’t nearly as feature-rich as other options on the market. We recommend reading through our other password manager reviews.
What do you think of Steganos? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.