Apple Watch can now receive password breach alerts from Dashlane

Still feeling sceptical about the Apple Watch? Popular password manager Dashlane has come up with an interesting use for the device to boost security that allows users to receive alerts about known online account breaches, quickly changing the password with only a single tap.

In principle, this sort of feature could be incredibly useful. There are now so many breaches and users don’t always hear about them for days or even weeks. Time is always of the essence.

After a breach is made public, the user’s iPhone and synchronised Watch apps receives an alert via the firm’s threat monitoring service. Depending on which site is involved, it is then possible to change the password using Dashlane’s Password Generator function from the Watch itself with a single action.

Users can already receive this to their iPhone (Android support is in the pipeline) so the first issue is whether the Watch notification is that important. On the basis that people are more likely to notice a notifications on a wearable, this is probably of benefit to most people.

Actually changing a web password is the most complex aspect of this service because new credential have to be entered into the online service itself. That requires that Dashlane can interact with that service in the correct way, including potentially taking account of any multi-factor authentication being used on it.

That does limit the password changing feature to named sites, which currently runs to around 200 and growing. Unfortunately some pretty big ones such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and (ironically) Apple  aren’t on the list so it’s a system with limitations. However, Techworld understands that alerts work for all sites even if the automatic password changer doesn't.

Supported sites inclde LinkedIn, Box, Strava, Disqus, Fitbit, Giffgaff, Priceline, and VMware.

“Security breaches aren’t always discovered when we’re near our computers,” commented Dashlane CEO, Emmanuel Schalit.

“The ability to receive instant notification and take immediate action is a momentous differentiator that makes Dashlane the cutting-edge password manager that is there for users, wherever and whenever they need it.”

The new feature is now available via an update for the Dashlane app on the iPhone, which makes the function appear on the Watch. Dashlane operates a free version of its app (on which this feature is available) as well as a $39.99 (£26) per annum premium version with some added features such as account backup and the ability to synchronise across multiple devices.

The ability to receive news of account breaches will also be useful for users in the habit of using more than one password manager. In June the biggest password manager on the market, Dashlane rival LastPass, suffered a significant network and still rather mysterious breach, after which millions of users were asked to change their master passwords.

Another way to protect online accounts is to directly monitor the access itself for suspicious activity using something like LogDog.

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