Symple ID started as a Kickstarter project that wanted to make signing in to your accounts online simpler. Back in April we called for you to back the project. It met its target and now backers are receiving the goods. I backed the project and will take a closer look at how it all works. If you're interested you can also find out how you can get started with Symple ID.


What is Symple ID?

If you haven't heard of Symple ID before, it is a simple solution to logging into your accounts online using NFC. We're always told not to use the same password for every account and to make our passwords hard by mixing it up with numbers and symbols. When you have many accounts you often forget your password. Writing them down is not always a great solution either. There are a few services out there like LastPass and 1Password, even BlackBerry's own Password Keeper that will allow you to create secure passwords for the many accounts you have and all you need to remember is one password. Symple ID works similarly but instead you use your NFC-enabled device and tap to sign in.


Getting started

Symple ID works with NFC, so all BlackBerry 10 devices, except for the BlackBerry Z3, can use Symple ID. You will also need a subscription to Symple ID which is charged annually. For the first year you'll need to get a bundle which includes NFC tags but Symple ID also offers extra NFC cards, wristbands or tags which you can purchase for backups.

Symple ID License  Symple ID Tap to Start  Symple ID Pairing

Once you have your license key and NFC tag/card to hand, you then need to download the Symple ID app from BlackBerry World. When you have that installed open the app and activate it using the license that you receive when you sign up to Symple ID. Then install the browser extension which you're prompted to do after you activate your license. When the Symple ID browser extension has been installed you are then prompted to enter your Token ID which you will find within app. Once complete, you have successfully paired your device to your computer. Then it's a case of tapping your NFC card and start signing in to those accounts. Symple ID is not headless so you do need the app open in an Active Frame for it to be able to function.

Symple ID Pair with Browser

Symple ID will recognise when you're on a login page, there will be a pop up on browser saying Login Found… and the app will also prompt you to save the account details. Just enter your credentials and they will be saved to the app. The next time you visit that login page, the app will prompt you to tap to login, just tap your NFC card and seconds later you will be logged in.

Symple ID Accounts  Symple ID Login Prompt


How secure is Symple ID?

Your password is encrypted before it goes through the Symple ID servers and to. Encryption is done using industry standard AES algorithm 128, 192 or 256 bits. the SHA256 hash function; the HMAC authentication code; the PBKDF2 password strengthener; and the CCM and OCB authenticated-encryption modes. All passwords are stored on your device, encrypted using data saved to your unique NFC-based ID.

Symple ID wants you to be able to login to your accounts in the simplest way and it does that by using NFC as it means you don't need to remember any passwords.

Since Symple ID offers bundles that allows you to use multiple NFC cards or tags, you can create a back up to then clone your NFC ID onto another NFC tag. All you need for this is the BlackBerry Smart Tags app. This can also act as a backup in case you lose your NFC card. The process of backing up can found on the Symple ID help pages.

If you ever lost your laptop you can unpair your device from your computer via the Symple ID app by Revoking the Pair Token. This would then produce a new Token ID to use with another machine.


Symple ID pricing

Due to Symple ID working with NFC, you will need to purchase the service subscription and NFC card/tag the first time around. The subscription lasts a year and you can renew it at $14 per year after that. There is a starter kit available from the Symple ID website which gives you one year subscription and a choice of a white NFC wristband or NFC hang tag for $35. The wristband comes in different sizes to suit you. If you want extra NFC tags/cards for backup you can get them for $8 each.

Looking at other password services, like LastPass or 1Password, Symple ID falls between the two on pricing for the yearly subscription. LastPass Premium costs $12 per annum while 1Password costs $34.99. However, with LastPass you only need to pay for the premium service if you wish to use the app, allowing you to login into accounts via your BlackBerry smartphone. However, neither have an app built for BlackBerry. LastPass does have their Android app in BlackBerry World and 1Password's app would need to be sideloaded.

Symple ID also offers "Symple ID on USB". It is pre-loaded with Google Chrome Portable, this then allows you to use Symple ID on another computer, e.g. friend's computer, work computer, etc. You would just do everything from the USB. Symple ID on USB costs $26. I quite like the idea of this and might give this one a try.


Final thoughts

I like the idea of just tapping to login. Compared to the other services mentioned here, Symple ID is convenient as you don't have to remember any password at all as it works via NFC. I have been using LastPass for a few years now and I do find it convenient as I only have to remember one password now. It also allows me to generate strong passwords. With my subscription to LastPass ending soon, I might just continue to use Symple ID for the next year and may go down the road of trying out their USB version.

If you want a simple way of logging into your accounts, Symple ID is a pretty neat service, there are no passwords to remember, allowing you to use stronger passwords for you accounts.

For more information / Purchase Symple ID License