Dashlane launches passwordless login - for new users only so far

Dashlane becomes the first password manager to eliminate the need for a master password.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Dashlane letting you set up account without master password

Most of us are dreaming of a glorious passwordless future. Earlier this year, Dashlane raised our collective hopes when the password manager company announced that a Passwordless Login feature was coming "later this year."

Today, the company confirmed: Dashlane is the first credential manager to eliminate the Master Password. But for now, at least, that feature will only be available to new users.

Also: Beyond passwords: 4 key security steps you're probably forgetting

With the initial release, passwordless login is available on all new personal plan accounts for both iOS and Android devices. After you've created an account, you can use your trusted device to log into Dashlane from any other web or mobile device. The passwordless option is just that -- an option; current users can stick with the standard master password if they choose.

For current users, said Dashlane, passwordless login will be rolled out during the coming year. 

"Like any major technological or societal shift, the transition from the ubiquity of passwords to passwordless will take time," said Frederic Rivain, Dashlane's chief technology officer.  "Passwordless authentication is the future of logging into websites and apps. It's the most consequential security advancement for everyday users in decades because it impacts so much of our web experience. And it has broad benefits for consumers, businesses, and institutions."

Nearly all password managers today require users to unlock their vaults with a master password. Once unlocked, those users have full access to the passwords within. This approach is not without problems: Users may employ a weak master password, or that master password may find its way into the wrong hands. On top of that, having to type a master password can slow down the process (especially when you're unlocking your vault throughout the day).

Also: The best password managers to save you from login hassle

Passwordless login is a great way to prevent unwanted eyes from watching you type your password into your device. It's far more secure than traditional master passwords and is also easier to use. To use passwordless login, you set it up with a device-specific PIN (or biometrics, such as fingerprint or facial recognition). Once this vault unlock method is set up, you won't have to bother typing your master password to unlock your account. The unique key (created on your device) encrypts the Dashlane vault and stores it locally on the device (in keeping with Dashlane's zero-knowledge architecture). 

To that, Rivain said, "Authenticating into the Dashlane app requires a different approach, as it's not only about authentication but also about accessing your data by decrypting your vault. We leveraged our existing zero-knowledge security architecture, which ensures that sensitive data processing happens locally on the user's device without Dashlane or anyone else having access."

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