Authentic8 Silo Product Review (PC Magazine)

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NEWS

Scott's Take: Even though this was a review of password managers, Silo came out fine. Neil recognized that the hardened browser is a nice wrapper around a password manager, and Silo on the iPad outperformed other solutions. 3-1/2 stars? We’ll take it. Read the full article at PC Magazine.

You know it's not a good idea to fiddle with Facebook in one browser tab while your bank's website is open in another... but maintaining that separation can be tough. Authentic8 Silo ($10 per month) secures your important websites in a hardened browser, and it makes a darn good password manager, too, as long as you don't have a crazy number of passwords.

The Silo for Teams module extends the security controls beyond a single user to encompass the entire team. An administrator can define Web and security policies for a group of users, deploy and manage Web applications, assign and revoke credentials, and more, all from the Silo Admin Console. However, for the purposes of this review my rating of the product is based more heavily on the components any consumer can use: the hardened browser and the password-manager capability.

Authentic8 supports Windows XP, 7, and 8, but not Vista. I thought that might be an oversight, so I checked with the company. In fact, they don't support it. An issue with the way Vista handles signed installers combined with its low, low market share made supporting Vista simply not cost-effective. In truth, I had Silo working fine under Vista before I learned this, but you might not be so lucky.

Powerful Authentication

At launch, Silo builds a protected environment containing all of your saved logins (and, in a business setting, your Web apps). The aim is to keep sensitive websites completely separate from random browsing. At the end of a session, according to the documentation, "Silo is destroyed along with all transient browsing data, leaving the device and server stateless." Destroyed may be a bit strong, but it definitely doesn't leave history data lying around.

To access your Silo configuration, you must enter the PIN you defined at installation. However, this is no simple-minded PIN-pad login. The PC and Mac editions use a matrix of numbered buttons, each of which contains a letter. For each number of your PIN, you type the corresponding letter, and the letters shuffle each time you type one. No keylogger or screen scraper is going to defeat this system.

The iPad edition looks remarkably similar to the Mac and PC editions, but it takes advantage of the iPad's touch interface. Instead of shuffling letters, it simply rearranges the number in the PIN-pad after each tap. This ever-changing PIN pad is somewhat reminiscent of the printable "grid authenticator" feature in LastPass 3.0, but much slicker.

Running Android? Sorry, there's no Android version at this time, and the iOS version is iPad-specific. Both iPhone and Android versions are in the works according to contacts at Authentic8.

Read the full article at PC Magazine.