What is the Emergency feature and how to use it?

Have you ever needed someone to access one of your accounts but you weren’t there to give them the login and password? This happens to all of us, whether it’s in the work place or with friends and family. The new Emergency feature in Dashlane lets you manage these urgent situations while giving you control over all your data.

You can watch this quick video walkthrough:

Why use Emergency?

The Emergency feature in Dashlane is based on trust. There are a few reasons you would trust someone with access to your data:

  • In a personal context: if you want to make sure that your friends or family can access your important data (passwords or notes) in an emergency or in case something happens to you.
  • In a professional context: if you go on vacation, you can give colleagues access to some of your data, or let them ask you for access in case they need it. This would also be useful if you were unable to go to work for some reason, maybe illness, and your colleagues needed access to your accounts.
  • Also, you might be worried that you’re going to forget your master password and so you want to give access to someone else in case this happens.

Is it safe and do I need to give my contact my master password?

Your data is completely secure with this new feature. You do not need to give anyone your master password.

For each Dashlane user, we created:

  • a unique public key (which is used to encrypt data before sending it to other users) saved on Dashlane's servers.
  • a unique private key (known only to you and never shared or transmitted to others) which is directly saved in your Dashlane account and encrypted in your Dashlane settings so this works even for free users who do not have the sync feature because your account settings are synced across all devices, even if you don't have Premium. This private key is used to decrypt data exclusively. Please note that your private key is different to your master password. Your private key is encrypted with your master password and stored in your settings in your Dashlane account (along with all your other sensitive data). This private key is synced over to other devices in the same way as your encrypted data is. Please note that we never send your master password over the internet.

Both keys are generated together and are meant to work together because they only work in one direction. One can never be used to replace the other. You could give your public key to all the impalas on Earth and no one could ever use it to decrypt and read your shared data. This is public-key cryptography magic!

The data that is shared is encrypted with the user’s public key but cannot be decrypted with the public key.

The data can only be decrypted with the private key of the user (which is only known to the user) but the private key cannot be used to encrypt data.

How it works

The Emergency feature lets someone else access the data you store in Dashlane. (The following screenshots are for the Windows desktop app. You can also set it up from your Mac desktop app and the process is the same.)

Click here to see how to set up Emergency on iOS.

Choose your emergency contact. When the set-up process is complete, this contact will be able to request access to your data and when they do, you will get an email asking if you want to grant or decline access

Set a waiting period: this is how long you will have to either grant or decline an access request. If you do not refuse the access within that period, it will be automatically granted. The period can be set at 0 to 3 months and the default is 2 days. For example, you can set a period of one month. If your emergency contact asks for access to your data and you do not reply within this month, they will have access to your data.

Please note that you can also set the waiting period to Require a response, in which case access will never be granted unless you accept the request.

After confirming, your emergency contact invitation will be sent to the address email specified in the field. The invitation will appear as pending in your Dashlane app until accepted by your contact.

Your contact will receive a message both in-app and by email, as shown below.

After your contact has accepted to become your emergency contact, they will be able, at any time, to ask you for access to your data. To do so, they will need to go to the Emergency section of their Dashlane app, and click on the key next to your email address.  

After that, you will receive an email and an in-app pop-up message alerting you that your emergency contact has requested access to your data. You will be able to grant or decline the request from the pop-up or from the Emergency section.

If you decide to grant access, here is how the Emergency section will appear on your contact's side:

By clicking the magnifying glass icon, they will be able to view the data you previously allowed them to view in this circumstance. By simply clicking the black lock icon next to a credential, your login and password will appear.

Three important points about this Feature:

  • Once emergency access has been activated, if you add any Password or Secure Note to your account, your emergency contact will have access to this new data. This is not the case for Receipts, Payment data, Personal Info or IDs, or if you have chosen to give your emergency contact limited access to your data.
  • Your emergency contact has read-only access to your data and can't edit or change anything.
  • After your emergency contact has accessed your data, you can still revoke access at any time. If you do this then they will need to ask you for access again.

What data is shared?

Not all your Dashlane data is shared to your emergency contact. Only passwords and notes are available to them so this does not include anything you store in the Receipts, Payments, Personal Info or IDs sections in Dashlane.

Make sure you keep everything you want to share to your emergency contact in the Passwords and Secure Notes sections of the application!

The two modes of this Emergency feature

  • All is shared

If you choose this option, then all your data is sent to your emergency contact. They will have full access to all your secure notes and passwords.

  • Advanced – only some passwords and notes

If you choose this option, then only some passwords and notes will be available to your emergency contact. The list of data can be edited after it's been enabled so you can add or remove items from your emergency contact.

Do I need to be Premium to use the Emergency feature?

No, anyone with a Dashlane account, free or Premium, can use the Emergency feature.

The other person must have a Dashlane account because you need to enter a registered email address of the person you want as your emergency contact.

What if my emergency contact doesn't install Dashlane?

Then they won't have access to your data in case of an emergency. You need to log in to your Dashlane account after your emergency contact has accepted your request. Otherwise, they will not be able to access your data because Dashlane needs you to log in to your account so that your data is encrypted with the public key and then your emergency contact will be able to decrypt this in their Dashlane account.

Make sure your emergency contact installs Dashlane and clicks on Accept. You will see a notification in your Dashlane account (and in the Emergency section) once they have done this.

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