Dashlane is pricey, but it's jam-packed with clever features. It's the best password manager around
Password managers are a godsend, but many people are nervous of storing their details on a server. They see it as a single point of failure – something the recent security breach of LastPass will have done little to assuage.
But there are still good reasons to use a password manager. Dashlane – recently updated on iOS but also available on Android, Windows and OS X – does a lot more than synchronise your passwords across different devices.
As with most password managers, it allows you to generate and automatically store complex passwords, those that make a brute-force hacking of your accounts much more difficult. Having a password composed of a random string of upper- and lowercase letters, with a few extra characters thrown in, is intrinsically more secure than a couple of words, even if you just change an "e" to a "3".
But Dashlane goes a lot further than this. It can audit all your passwords and rate how secure they are, providing a score for each one. If you use the same password across different sites (who hasn't?), it will warn you and tell you for how many sites you're using the same credentials.
Even better, Dashlane can automatically update your passwords for you, without you having to visit the site in question. This doesn't work for every site, but most of the major services, and quite a few minor ones, are covered.
Furthermore, the latest release has added a feature that will make security-conscious users very happy: instant security alerts. If an account is compromised, Dashlane will quickly send an alert to your phone and offer you the option of changing your password with a single click. The alert will appear on an Apple Watch too: simply tap to change your password in seconds, if it's a supported service.
However, it's worth noting that a lot of these features are only available in the paid-for version. Although you can use Dashlane on a single device without coughing up, synchronising your passwords across devices can only be done if you pay £24 per year for the “Premium” service – once the free trial has expired.
If you're serious about security, I think it's worth it. It's a small price to pay to have the convenience of secure passwords everywhere and the peace of mind that, if a service is compromised, you'll hear about it and be able to take action very quickly. Despite being pricier than LastPass's premium option, Dashlane's design and security notifications make it a more convenient system to use.
We human beings are forgetful types – we tend to be lazy and reuse passwords. If this sounds like you, you owe it to yourself to give Dashlane a try. Any easy-to-use application that nudges us towards better security has to be worthwhile.