Bitwarden, the password manager company, has been busy this year getting ready for passkeys with its acquisition of passwordless.dev, creating new passkey development tools, and carrying out research into passkey adoption.
And the company is now rolling out passkey management tools to all its users, including those on its free plan.
Passkeys, in case you haven’t heard of them before, are the future. They offer a fast, convenient, and secure alternative to passwords and two-factor authentication login techniques.
When using the Bitwarden web extension, users who visit a passkey-enabled website and start to create a passkey will get a prompt asking them to add the new passkey to their password vault.
Once the passkey is saved, from then on, it will be used securely to log into the website without needing a password, turning a future that’s password-free into a reality — well, at least for websites that support passkeys.
The good news is that the list of websites offering this feature is growing all the time, including big names such as Amazon, Google, eBay, Paypal, WhatsApp, and Uber.
And while you might feel that a method that is simpler and faster than logging into a website with a password might be more insecure (Google estimates that it’s some 40% faster), you’d be wrong.
Passkeys are a secure form of cryptographic authentication built using WebAuthn protocols developed by the FIDO Alliance that make use of a pair of keys: A public key stored on passkey-enabled websites and a private key that’s stored securely on a user’s device.
This means that even if a hacker gets their hands on a website’s public key, the user’s account is still locked because they don’t have access to the private key on the user’s device.
So, anything that encourages people to make the shift is a good thing.