Is Uno the future of password management?

Is Uno the future of password management?

Uno is a password manager that emphasizes design and ease of use as well as security.

Screenshot of Uno, a new password manager

Screenshot of Uno, a new design forwarding password manager

There are a lot of stupid password rules out there, and even apps or plugins that claim to help you navigate these 8-20 character logins (each with different criteria) have been prone to data leaks or at least being frustrating. user experience.

Parteek Saran thinks he has a solution. An ex-Googler (who accidentally helped create an app for Lady Gaga’s 2013 album ARTPOP), Saran believes that rather than scolding or transforming user behavior around passwords, it’s up to the technical side to find a better and more convenient way to ensure security and password management.

That’s why he created Uno, a new password manager backed by Andreessen Horowitz that’s as much about design and social networking as it is about login security. “Security is a chore,” Saran tells InsideHook. “If we want adoption, we have to change the way we think about safety.”

The impetus for Uno was actually when Saran himself was compromised. “I had the wrong password in Gmail,” admits a former Google employee. “The irony is that Google has strict security practices, but I’ve never practiced those guidelines in my personal life. I realized that I didn’t understand the rules or the instructions, even though I came from a technical background.”

Uno’s solution is to make password management… fun? “We emphasize design,” he explains. “We don’t spend as much time emphasizing the password management part. A lot of security can be really technical. So we’re talking more about reducing friction on the web, making logins one click or faster than what’s out there. We design this for regular people.”

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Uno offers many unique features within its password security framework. Instead of a passphrase or a more complicated solution, if you lose your device or access to your Uno account, the company offers what it calls a Community Recovery Plan, where you can trust friends and family to help you get your data back. And with Peekaboo, it provides a shortcut to annoying (but secure) two-factor authentication logins; instead of searching for your email, Peekaboo displays this one-time password in the corner of your webpage, so you never have to leave your browser or page.

The social restoration aspect of Uno


At the same time, Uno does everything a password manager should: it’s a central hub for all your passwords that ultimately works across all your devices. Ideally, you can log in to any of your preferred sites with one click (and auto-fill addresses and credit card information across sites). You can also secure your encryption keys and import passwords from other managers.

Obviously, the first thing a password manager should offer is actual security. To this end, Uno promises that it will never have access to your private login information, browsing information, or email; all authentication is done locally on your devices. Within their system, they also use what they call “best practice elliptic curve 25519 cryptographic algorithms” to encrypt data and sign messages between components and users. “Your secret data is mathematically indistinguishable from random noise,” they claim.

Uno is currently available for Mac, iOS, and the Chrome browser. It’s a glossy app by design – lots of color and big buttons, and it looks a bit more like a workout or productivity app than a password manager. When I added a device (via QR code) to my account, a festive explosion of fireworks, tiny locks, and “cool” signs bounced across my screen.

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Are these bells and whistles making me want to give up on Dashlane, my password manager of choice for nearly 11 years? Granted, I haven’t spent enough time with Uno to figure out if the switch is worth it; Dashlane’s free tier is fine (it’s secure, if a bit fiddly to fill in some passwords and other website requests), and combined with the various browser and phone password managers I’m happy with.

But if I were new to the world of password managers, I might start with Uno. It’s certainly more eye-catching and a little less clinical than other password managers, while still serving the same role…that is, you don’t have to remember the 15 characters Banana Republic (which requires uppercase, lowercase, and special characters) will inevitably forget and retype. to start. And you inevitably choose something you remember that isn’t necessarily safe.

“It’s a real thing not to use a strong password because you feel like you’re losing control,” says Saran. “If this is common behavior, how do we design for it and keep it safe? Our goal is that if you don’t understand the technology, we want to make it easy and accessible to manage your passwords while keeping you safe.”

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