* Dashlane acquires New York start-up PassOmatic
* New software changes passwords in a few clicks
By Eric Auchard
LONDON, Dec 9 A French-American software
start-up is to launch the world's first mainstream automatic
password changer in an attempt to remove the all-too-human
frailty that has rendered the phrase "computer security" a
For most people, properly managing passwords verges on
impossible, given the dizzying array of devices and websites on
which we have all become increasingly reliant. But Dashlane.com
is stepping up its offering to counter hackers.
The company, which has three million users of its existing
password management service, announced on Tuesday that it has
acquired PassOmatic, a New York start-up that created the
automatic password changer Dashlane plans to incorporate into
its own products in the coming weeks. The terms of the deal were
Dozens of similarly featured programmes exist, with
LastPass, RoboForm and Dashlane among the most popular across
both computer and phone systems. Each helps users to store and
organise their passwords in a secure database controlled by a
But by offering a way to change passwords regularly with
just a few clicks, Dashlane's approach marks a breakthrough in
an industry that typically demands users create complex strings
of text and numbers - a request that largely goes unheeded.
"The key is to have reasonably complicated passwords that
are different on every website," Dashlane Chief Executive
Emmanuel Schalit said in a telephone interview.
Dashlane will introduce a feature that updates passwords
automatically at pre-set intervals, say every 30 days, or at the
user's request if, for example, a website's security has been
"We are making passwords go away from the perspective of the
consumer, without doing away with passwords from a technical
perspective," Schalit said.
Though some cyber security experts have said passwords will
eventually be replaced by other forms of identification, such as
fingerprints, the prospect of passwords disappearing completely
remains a long way off and Dashlane has, in effect, found a way
to manage a user's digital identity across the Web.
The new software will be free on a single device but will
cost $39.99 a year to manage passwords across multiple devices
and access premium features. Rival programmes range in price
from free to around $30 a year. Dashlane raised its price from
$29.95 in September.
Dashlane is unusual for being the only company in the
password management field to be venture capital-backed, having
received $30 million in funding from Rho Ventures, FirstMark
Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners.
It was founded in Paris five years ago by three engineers
backed by Bernard Liautaud, the French entrepreneur who started
Business Objects, the data analysis software company acquired by
SAP for $6.8 billion in 2007. It moved to New York in
2011 but most employees remain based in Paris.
(Editing by David Goodman)