What Is an eWallet and Can I Trust It?

By Fraser Sherman

In the 21st century, people rely on passwords to control access to email, bank accounts, social media accounts and medical files, among other secrets. Using one password for everything makes it easy for a hacker to steal your information or money. If you use several difficult passwords, it's hard to remember them. The eWallet is a tool to keep passwords safe and accessible.

Password for Passwords

The eWallet is an application from Ilium Software that stores confidential information such as website passwords, email passwords and credit card numbers. You create an eWallet password and it becomes the only one you have to remember. The data inside a password-protected wallet is encrypted to protect it from hackers, making it safer than if you wrote the information in a notebook. You can set up your eWallet to open without a password, but that makes it as accessible and unsecure as any ordinary app.

Safety in Numbers

The eWallet uses the advanced encryption standard chosen by the federal government for sensitive material. Ilium's AES encryption uses a 256-bit key -- a string of 256 numbers. If a hacker tries a brute force attack -- having a computer enter possible random-number strings at top speed -- a 56-bit key may give up its data in a little under seven minutes. With 256 bits, it would take more than a billion years to exhaust all the possibilities.

eWallet in Action

When you open an eWallet, you store the data you want to keep safe on digital cards, equivalent to the ones you put in a regular wallet. If you create a card for your email, it includes your username, password and any other information you want to add. You can do the same for your credit card numbers, medical information, PIN codes and other data you want to be both secure and on hand.

Buying a Wallet

You can download eWallet from the Ilium website or from the app store for your device. It's available for Android, iPhone and iPad, Mac and Windows computers, and BlackBerry. One potential drawback is that Ilium can't recover your eWallet password if you forget it. You can create a new wallet without downloading the app again and re-enter your data, but without the password there's no way to access the first wallet.