Cybersecurity provider Bitwarden Inc. has acquired Passwordless.dev, a startup that helps companies add passwordless login features to their applications.
The deal was announced this morning.
Santa Barbara, California-based Bitwarden provides one of the industry’s most popular password managers. The application is used by millions of consumers worldwide. Bitwarden also offers an enterprise version that includes additional features, including a tool for ensuring workers use strong passwords to log into company systems.
Passwordless.dev, the startup Bitwarden has acquired, provides a development framework of the same name. It enables software teams to more easily implement passwordless login features in applications. Using Passwordless.dev, developers can enable users to sign into an application with biometric authentication methods and hardware security keys.
“Most companies want to invest in passwordless solutions such as Face ID, Touch ID, Windows Hello, and other forms of web authentication to create better user experiences and stronger security,” said Bitwarden Chief Executive Officer Michael Crandell. “Passwordless.dev lets developers and companies accelerate passwordless innovation by simplifying development efforts into a single API.”
Passwordless.dev is based on an open-source technology called WebAuthn. The technology was released by 2016 by the World Wide Web Consortium, an industry group that maintains many foundational internet technologies. WebAuthn is supported in all major browsers.
Implementing WebAuthn in an application can require weeks of work for software teams. According to Passwordless.dev, its framework reduces the amount of time needed to implement WebAuthn from weeks to a few minutes.
The framework also promises to ease a number of related tasks. WebAuthn processes login requests using an encryption technology known as public-key cryptography. According to Passwordless.dev, its framework automatically manages encryption keys and makes it easier to comply with the European Union’s GDPR privacy regulation.
Bitwarden plans to offer the startup’s framework alongside its flagship password manager. The company will provide Passwordless.dev at no charge until March 31, after which some features will become available as part of paid plans. Bitwarden stated that it intends to continue offering a free version of the framework after March 31.
“Customers want passwordless authentication solutions that are unique to their companies and end users, but building differentiated experiences is resource intensive,” said Passwordless.dev founder Anders Åberg. “Bitwarden and Passwordless.dev will make passwordless more accessible for everyone.”
The acquisition of Passwordless.dev comes a few months after Bitwarden raised $100 million in funding from investors. At the time, the company stated that it was planning to use a part of the capital to enhance its product portfolio.
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