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Choosing usernames and passwords, typing them and logging in are a drag. You have to manage several different ones for websites and Windows applications in your head and lose a significant amount of time logging in. APC’s Biometric Password Manager (aka the Biopod) ensures that you don’t have to do this anymore – just put your finger on the little USB-powered fingerprint scanner and you get instant and trouble-free entrance to web-based e-mail, online stores, internet forums etc. No more fussing around with little black books of secret passwords – or worse, a Post-It decorated monitor screen.
The Biopod not only manages your passwords but also can encrypt Windows files and folders so that only you can access them through your (literally) fingertip. It’s double the security for the price of only one device. The Biopod is a 2 1/2-inch by 3 1/2-inch device that connects to your PC with a six-foot long USB cable. It has two rubber bands on its back to prevent sliding on your desktop.
[nextpage title=”Installation and Finger Recognition”]
The setup process is really uncomplicated: just connect the Biometric Password Manager to an available USB port and insert the CD to proceed to the APC OmniPass software installation. The program will then begin the process of “finger enrollment” – that is, the recognition of your chosen fingerprint to serve as your door to all websites and Windows applications. Just click on the finger of your choice and then place it on the Biopod scanner. The software will repeat the scanning eight times in a roll to ensure a perfect fingerprint reading. From then on you are instantly recognized by it. The user has the option to select any of his fingers and also enroll more than one of them. The APC OmniPass software can register up to 20 different users or individual fingerprints.
To use the Biopod you must have a Windows password – if you do not use one you should assign a password through the Control Panel/User Accounts before the finger enrollment process, which can be practiced before you actually register a valid fingerprint. After that is done you can access the software controls by double clicking or right-clicking the system-tray icon. The application allows you to register new users or remove existing ones, and also view your list of usernames and passwords in the so-called Password vault – which, of course, will prompt a fingerprint scan for security measures.
[nextpage title=”Managing Passwords, Profiles and Users”]
Now that the application is up and running and you have a registered fingerprint, it’s time to get rid of that annoying web of usernames and passwords. Start by running softwares and visiting websites that ask you to log in. The OmniPass instantly recognizes a password field and asks if you’d like to enter that particular username and password into the database. You must to do this for every website and Windows application that requires logging in – but just this one time and then it’s done. Once your, say, eBay account is put into the Password Vault you can log in by putting you finger on the Biopod, never needing to type that username and password information again.
By clicking on the software system-tray icon you can access the application controls. There you can manage users, enroll new fingers and also change settings (like disabling the beep sound of the fingerprint prompt). Furthermore you can also change your identities – the software allows you to have multiple accounts on the same computer. For instance, you can have two identities, work and home. You store one username and password for the application under the work identity and the other username and password under the home identity. To switch identities, just select the one you’d like to use when you log in to OmniPass. The application allows as many identities as the user wishes it.
The problem with the OmniPass software is that it lacks a shut down feature. It can pop up when you are playing a game or installing software. The only way to shut it down is from the task manager.
[nextpage title=”Encrypting Files and Folders”]
The Biopod also allows users to encrypt and decrypt Windows files and folders. The OmniPass software adds encryption options to the right-click menu in Windows. Just select the file or entire folder, right-click on the mouse and let the process run its course – which can take quite some time depending on the number of files and their size. To open, run or decrypt the files require scanning your fingertip. Encryption adds a .opf extension to each file – so if you ever move the data to a machine that doesn’t have the OmniPass software installed, they cannot be decrypted. The same goes if you ever uninstall the software or the Biopod.
You can choose from a list of cryptographic service providers (CSP) on the application settings. By default, Microsoft Base Cryptographic provider is selected.
The encryption feature is the coolest use of APC’s Biometric Password Manager. It prevents unauthorized opening of sensitive files on your PC – and if you take the extra care of renaming that data prior to encrypting, you can rest assured that no one will break the privacy of your hard disk.
The main specifications for the APC biometric password manager include:
- Weight: 0.25 lbs (115 g)
- Height: 2.00 inches (5 cm)
- Width: 1.00 inches (2.5 cm)
- Depth: 0.50 inch (1.30 cm)
- Cord Length: 6.00 feet (1.80 m)
- Connector: USB 1.1
- Average Price in the USA*: USD 55.00
- More information: https://www.apc.com
* Researched at https://www.pricewatch.com on the day we published this review.
Say goodbye to the endless typing of usernames and passwords
Easy configuration and finger enrollment
Never for once misread a fingerprint
The encryption feature is a big plus
- Similar products have a better and more stylish design
The application lacks a shut down feature