To survive, password managers adapt to a world without passwords

Dashlane, 1Password, LastPass, Bitwarden… password managers are turning a corner to prepare for the arrival of passkeys and the disappearance of passwords.

This is one of the latest announcements and it comes from one of the tenors in the industry: password manager 1Password has announced that it too is preparing to switch to a world without passwords. Specifically, the company has expressed its future conversion to “passkeys”, also called “access keys” or “access codes”, and even “identification keys”.

Passkeys are coming to 1Password. Unlock a new, simpler approach to connecting that works wherever you are — on any device, anywhere in the world. We are happy to share with you today a glimpse of our password-free future. “, launches the group in a message posted on Twitter on November 17, 2022.

paypal password
An example of passkey integration on PayPal. // Source: PayPal

Passkeys are an innovative process for logging into your account, whether it is a website or an application. Actually, it’s almost like a password, but its operation and manipulation rest on different foundations — for example, you don’t have to remember them. In addition, passkeys mobilize cryptographic mechanisms.

Passkeys are intended to replace passwords in the (very) long term, because they have several advantages: in addition to less mental workload (no more memorization headaches), passkeys are generally more robust than the standard password and are not vulnerable to data leaks or phishing.

Passkeys use pairs of cryptographic keys. One key is private (you keep it secret, for example, on your smartphone) and another is public (it’s the one you distribute). It is the principle of asymmetric cryptographyfound in services with end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp and Signal.

The managers have not yet said their last password (password ;-))

Passkeys are good news from a computer security perspective. We know that everyone does anything with passwords by choosing codes that are far too weak. But for password managers, a world without passwords poses a fundamental problem: what use will they be in that world?

It’s no surprise to see 1Password announcing this transition, as it’s basically adapt or die. The platform has also put online a dedicated page to present your visionto explain how she’s going to jump on the bandwagon, and to explain that, yes, password managers will still be needed.

1Password is not alone in wanting to survive. In the sub-Reddit dedicated to Bitwarden, another password manager, an employee took place at the end of September to confirm that ” the team is already working on passkey support “. The other competitors are on this line. We can cite LastPass and Dashlane who also communicate on this future without passwords.

code password manager
Password managers are going to have to adapt to survive passkeys. // Source: Adèle Foehrenbacher for Numerama

If LastPass does not quote these passkeys, the group says ” be deeply committed to a standards-based passwordless future supported by FIDO », an alliance working just on this initiative. No choice : ” passwordless technology is developed and adopted by the entire industry “, notes the company.

On the side of Dashlane, things are clear: he too is getting started. ” Our support for passkeys is in beta phase », we read in a support page. Moreover, the company adds that it is ” now the first password manager to offer an extension that works with access keys “. No need to rush though: support for passkeys on the web is still very rare.

So, will password managers still be useful when these access codes are everywhere?

Interested parties will obviously answer in the affirmative, if only to store these famous private keys, which must absolutely remain secret. But, beyond that, these software can also remain useful for the other services they offer — monitoring of your email on the dark web, safe storage of your personal notes, access to a VPN service, etc.

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Source: Adele Foehrenbacher for Numerama

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