A month and change after one widely-used password manager service imposed the equivalent of a rate increase, another one just rolled out a substantial discount.
In the process, choosing an encrypted service to safeguard and synchronize passwords among your devices and apps may get simpler now that three of four top services charge almost the same.
Formerly a pricier outlier, Dashlane announced a $35.88/year Essentials plan Wednesday morning that covers use on two devices of the same password tools as its $59.99/year Premium service – without that bundle’s Virtual Private Network security and online identity-theft monitoring.
“There are very few people that were using all of those features,” said Dashlane CEO JD Sherman in an interview Tuesday. “There are the essentials that everybody should be using, and they don’t include the VPN, they don’t include the dark-web monitoring.”
What to do if you’re supposed to create long and complicated passwords and not use the same ones for all your online activity? The answer is a reliable password manager app, such as Dashlane. (Photo: Dashlane)
New York-based Dashlane’s new plan puts it on the same plane as LastPass ($36/year for individuals on unlimited devices) and 1Password ($35.88/year for solo use on unlimited devices). A fourth service, Bitwarden, still offers a free tier without limits on saved passwords or synced devices, plus a premium service at $10/year for individuals.
At all four, end-to-end encryption leaves the companies no keys to your data, so an attacker would need your master password. Backstop that with “two-step verification” of any unusual login; the most secure sort relies not on codes sent via text message but on those generated by mobile apps like Google Authenticator or a $20-and-up USB security key.
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All four offer family plans too: $40/year at Bitwarden, $48 at LastPass, $59.88 for 1Password, and $89.99 for Dashlane (that covers Premium features, since there’s no multiple-user Essentials option).
Until March, LastPass and Bitwarden both offered unlimited free versions (at the cost of less-elegant interfaces than 1Password and Dashlane), but then LastPass restricted its no-charge edition to access on either mobile devices or laptops and desktops.
“We gave people an opportunity to upgrade at a discounted rate to either Premium or Families and hundreds of thousands of users have chosen to convert,” said Dan DeMichele, product vice president at LastPass, in a publicist-sent statement.
This subsidiary of the Boston enterprise-software firm LogMeIn said in March it has 25 million-plus users.
Meanwhile, 1Password has kept prices constant through earlier LastPass hikes and saw a 50% jump in new accounts the week after the latest LastPass shift.
“It never made sense for 1Password to deliver industry-leading security that works across desktop and mobile for no cost,” said CEO Jeff Shiner in an email sent by a publicist.
(Disclosure: This Toronto firm made its service free to journalists in 2019, which got me to adopt 1Password while maintaining free accounts at the other three services.)
But at Bitwarden, the starting price remains zero for use on multiple devices, a freebie this Santa Barbara, Calif., firm says it can keep by charging for premium features like warnings of weak passwords and USB security key verification.
“Our business continues to do quite well, and we have no plans to ever change that approach,” said CEO Michael Crandell in a publicist-sent statement.
With all of these services, the biggest rival is not each other or the more basic but free password services of Apple and Google; it’s bad habits like using simple passwords or reusing them, which risks a breach at one site compromising others.
A Bitwarden-commissioned survey released Wednesday morning found that 56% of U.S. respondents said they relied on their own memory to store passwords, while 55.8% reused passwords across at least five sites.
As Dashlane’s Sherman said: “Our competition is people writing down passwords or using the same password.”
Rob Pegoraro is a tech writer based out of Washington, D.C. To submit a tech question, email Rob at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @robpegoraro.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
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