Password management software provider 1Password announced Tuesday that it has finally launched its anticipated passkey browser extension feature into beta test mode, enabling users to log into websites that support it without having to use passwords to authenticate themselves.
The new beta extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave and Safari and can be used on macOS, Windows and Linux, depending on what platform the browser is being used. The company also updated its 1Password app on Mac, iOS, Windows and Android so that users can generate, store, share, delete and move passkeys between 1Password installations.
A passkey is a specialized type of login credential that replaces the use of passwords for websites and services online. It is often described as “passwordless login” as a result because it uses a credential generated and stored securely on the device. It’s also protected by an alternative authentication factor such as biometrics, meaning fingerprint or facial recognition, or a PIN code to unlock.
By using passkeys, users do not need to recall a cumbersome password and username pair in order to log into websites. They won’t need to write it down on a piece of paper or store it in a password manager on their computer. As a result, there’s less chance that it can be stolen from them and they’re less likely to fall prey to social engineering or phishing attacks that attempt to trick users out of their passwords or login information.
1Password has been teasing its move into providing passkey support since late last year when the company said that it would be available in early 2023 and now it’s here in beta for browsers. Mobile support is still unavailable.
In order to get started, users can open up their 1Password browser extension and surf to a website that supports passkeys or find one using a directory in the company’s directory. The extension will let users know that the website supports passkeys and take them through the process of creating one. Once generated, it will be accessible for that site from then on.
Although 1Password is offering these extensions under beta, users cannot replace their own master password with a passkey yet. That’s the password that’s needed to unlock all the other passwords under their account in 1Password, the big important one for everything. However, the company said that in July the option to create a 1Password account with passkey login support will become available.
This launch follows much of the industry hopping on board the “passwordless” bandwagon with passkeys. Google LLC launched passkey support for consumer accounts in mid-May, with business customers getting passkey logins for Google Workspaces and Cloud earlier this week. Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced passkey support in during 2022 as well, and PayPal rolled out passkey integration for accounts in October.
Although mobile was not in the current batch of passkey beta extensions, 1Password said this is just the beginning. Once Android 14 is available this summer, the company said, passkeys will become accessible in apps as well as Chrome for Android. Support for iOS is also being developed for apps as well as Safari for Apple devices.
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