Password management and credentials security platform 1Password has launched a new service that enables users to generate unique email aliases to better protect their online privacy, representing its first major product announcement since unveiling its first ever chief technology officer (CTO) last week.

The Canadian company has partnered with privacy-focused email provider Fastmail for the new service, which will now integrate its existing aliases feature directly into the 1Password platform.

Masked email

“Phishing” plays a major role in many modern cyber attacks, with bad actors socially engineering their way toward tricking unassuming victims into revealing sensitive data. With remote work now the norm for countless companies, phishing attacks have surged over the past 18 months as attackers seek new ways to infiltrate employers’ networks and systems. In the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report, phishing attacks were the single most common cyber attack in terms of the total number of victims, impacting more than double that of the second most frequent cyber crime type (non-payment/non-delivery).

“Your email is an entry point into your digital life, so it’s essential that you remain in control of how it’s used,” 1Password browser experience lead Andrew Beyer said in a statement. “Working with Fastmail, we’ve developed a way to make creating and filling a unique email address through 1Password as easy as generating passwords are today.”

With 1Password’s new “masked email” offering, users are given an easy to way to create unique temporary or single-use email addresses to shield their main email address from view. Employees or consumers alike could use this to register for public Wi-Fi networks, for example, to sign up for newsletters, or anything they may wish to access but don’t want to give out their own email address for. This also means that if an online service provider is hacked or breached in any way, a person who only submitted an email alias can rest a little easier.

1Password: Create email alias

Above: 1Password: Create email alias

How it works

After registering to create a primary email address with Fastmail, users can create any number of aliases that sit under the main account, after which they can pause inbound emails from any individual alias that they wish. It’s worth noting that they can also automatically forward any emails from an alias to another email account — for example, their work email address — which increases the utility for those who don’t want to maintain multiple email accounts.

LinkedIn is a good example of an online platform that has often been “scraped” for private data such as email addresses, opening the door to targeted phishing or spam attacks. Using an email alias rather than a personal or work email address would allow the user to instantly shut off a specific alias and use a new one instead, should they begin receiving unwanted communications from outside their LinkedIn network.

Above: Block incoming emails for LinkedIn email alias

1Password has come a long way since its launch for consumers some 15 years ago, increasingly chasing businesses’ dollars with a slew of enterprise features such as secrets management for infrastructure security. The Toronto-based company now claims more than 90,000 paying businesses among its customer base, including Slack, IBM, Shopify, and GitLab.

While encouraging robust password hygiene has traditionally been 1Password’s bread and butter, extending support to the email address itself makes sense in terms of reducing the broader attack surface.

“Email aliases are an underrated hero of digital privacy,” Fastmail CEO Bron Gondwana said. “Your email address is your online identity. If your credentials are compromised in a data breach, having a randomly generated email address adds a second line of defense because it can’t be associated with your primary email address, and therefore, your identity.”

Masked email is available now to all 1Password users who are also customers of Fastmail, which offers plans starting at $3 per month.

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