World Password Day is celebrated on the first Thursday of May every year to raise awareness about the importance of password security. Ahead of this event, 1Password CEO Jeff Shiner spoke to 9to5Mac in an exclusive interview about what to expect in the future of password managers with passkeys, a new technology that promises to put an end to traditional passwords.
The challenges over the years
1Password is one of the most popular password managers available today. The app was first released in 2006 and is now available for multiple platforms, including macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and the web. Over the years, 1Password has been updated with many new features since protecting an online account now involves more than just a password.
Passwords have become more complex. There are now two-factor authentication codes and passkeys. For some people, using a password manager may seem too complicated. According to Shiner, making 1Password easy to use is one of the biggest challenges in convincing people to care about the security of their passwords.
“We’re always thinking about how to make it easy for people,” the executive told 9to5Mac. He explained that although 1Password was created as an end-user solution, it now provides many features for businesses as well. Even so, the company is still concerned about keeping the app as intuitive as possible for regular users. “If it gets too complicated, people will abandon it,” he added.
1Password and passkeys
But what about passkeys? For those unfamiliar, the technology was developed by the FIDO Alliance in partnership with companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Instead of traditional passwords, users can now sign in with secure authentication methods such as facial recognition or biometrics without ever having to create and type in a passcode.
1Password has also joined the FIDO Alliance and has been working to implement passkey support. According to the company’s CEO, the most significant benefit of this technology is its simplicity. “Passwords are difficult for people to remember. Passkeys will benefit the end user in both security and convenience,” says Shiner.
But, of course, storing a passkey requires a password manager. While Apple has already implemented passkey support in iCloud Keychain with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, some users may prefer to use a third-party password manager. For those people, 1Password will soon be ready for passkeys.
Shiner said the company wants 1Password to be “seamless for the end user, whether it’s with a passkey or a password.” He also mentioned that 1Password will play an important role in educating users about how passkeys work, as some people may be “worried if it’s not secure enough” because passkeys seem “too easy.”
Earlier today, Google announced that users can now replace their Google Account password with a passkey. 1Password shared a demo of how users will soon be able to easily store passkeys in the app.
Protecting user data
We also asked the 1Password CEO what the company has been doing to make sure that its customers’ passwords are safe. LastPass, another popular password manager, faced a major attack last year that compromised the sensitive data of its users, including passwords.
Shiner told 9to5Mac that “any company that says it’s not vulnerable to security breaches is lying.” But at 1Password, the team is always asking, “What could potentially happen if the breach happens?” He mentioned 1Password’s Secret Key, the encryption key for the user’s vault, which is not stored by 1Password.
So even if someone ends up hacking 1Password, the attacker won’t have access to the users’ vaults. “If that happens, we want to make sure the data is not available for the people who took it,” said the executive.
More about 1Password
Last year, 1Password completely rebuilt its app with version 8. Shiner said that the company is always looking at what can be improved in the app and, more importantly, how the team can make the experience more seamless between different platforms. He also teased that support for storing and auto-filling passkeys will be available this summer.
New customers can try 1Password for free. Plans start at $2.99 per month for individuals and $4.99 to share with up to five family members. The iOS version of 1Password is available on the App Store.
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