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Saying Goodbye to the Last Password

  |  Donald Hasson

Anonymized data shows more active sessions in the first week after creating an account, among other promising data 

Passwords were never the answer.

For decades, we’ve been grappling with the tension between “secure enough” and “easy enough” to use. And when it comes to our digital lives (both personal and professional), the truth is that both security and ease of use are non-negotiable. 

As our digital footprint grows and threats to securing credentials increase, the industry continues pushing for safer and smoother authentication processes. The security side of things, however, has always relied on the password—a flawed but necessary step along the path to a perfectly simple and secure login.

Password managers have played a meaningful role on the journey to seamless authentication, removing the hassle of remembering many (often hundreds of) complex and secure passwords. But there was always that one password—the Master Password, in Dashlane’s case—that has been necessary to protect an account. That single password is like the final boss in a video game: Really tough to beat, but finally, we’re here.

Back in December of 2023, Dashlane was the first credential manager to offer a fully passwordless experience from the moment of mobile account creation. While this was an exciting step on our path to passwordless, it was also a scary one: Authentication without a single password involved was uncharted territory, behaviorally speaking.

Android and iOS carried users over the initial hurdle of feeling comfortable with passwordless solutions like biometrics, but no such experience existed when it came to credential management login flows, so it would be a big adjustment for people to get used to. Based on our research, we knew that removing the last password would create a more secure and simpler user experience. But as with any change, the beginning can be a little intimidating. 

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Dashlane has always envisioned a passwordless future, but it was hard to predict how people would react. What does it actually look like to remove that final piece of friction? Eliminating a password from the login flow of a credential management vault would be a completely new experience.

Now that we’re a few months past the launch, we wanted to share some initial findings about our early cohort of users. In a comparison of anonymized data of new passwordless accounts compared to new accounts created with a Master Password since mid-December of 2023, passwordless users were:

  • Using Dashlane more frequently (40% more active)
  • Using autofill more frequently (25% increase)
  • More likely to share an item (240% increase)
  • More likely to add a 2FA token to a vault item (200% increase)
  • More likely to use Dashlane’s Password Generator to create a strong & unique password (20% increase)

Throughout the years, we have identified some core product behaviors that are indicative of more engaged and active users. These results check all the boxes and are positive signs that removing the friction of a password results in a more engaged, security-minded user. 

We believe these results, while still early, show encouraging signs that we are on the right path to passwordless, which will soon include full platform accessibility for passwordless login. 

I’m optimistic about the future of authentication. Passwordless options facilitate a safer future without password dependency. When I hear the term “passwordless,” my mind goes to Doc Brown in Back to the Future: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” And where we are all headed, we don’t need passwords. We’ve finally reached an exciting milestone where advancements in security technology have caught up to our collective desire for a truly seamless authentication experience. And while the shift won’t happen overnight, we’re here to support all our users through this transition.

Passkeys are part of the passwordless future as well. Here are my answers to 10 common passkey questions.

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