Passwords have outlived their usefulness.
Are you tired of entering passwords? You’re not alone, and you won’t be alone in being excited to learn that Apple, Google, and Microsoft have recently issued a joint announcement committing to making passwordless logins more widely available.
This news comes on Password Day, and with the tech triumvirate desiring to see the end of having a bunch of passwords for websites, services, and apps – and having to remember them all, or engaging in unsecure practises like jotting them down – plans for a common standard to implement widely-used and convenient passwordless sign-ins across all their platforms have been revealed.
That standard, developed by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium, is a significant improvement above what is currently utilized for more secure logins beyond a username and password. For example, two-factor authentication (2FA), which entails a second login step including a verification number texted to a smartphone, or the usage of a password manager tool.
Although FIDO authentication already allows for passwordless sign-in on some websites and apps, the main distinction here is that it makes the process more secure by providing an end-to-end passwordless alternative.
Users will no longer be required to sign-in for the initial login across every website or app, on every unique device, in order to enable passwordless access. Instead, consumers will just unlock their phone – using whatever method they normally use, such as a fingerprint scanner or a PIN – and the account will be immediately unlocked.
So, if you’re checking in to a website on your PC, all you’ll need is your smartphone, and you’ll be able to sign in to the site on your computer’s browser simply by unlocking the phone (the phone contains the FIDO ‘passkey’ used to access the account).
In brief, in this new online world, you may forget about passwords, and with compatible sites and services, all you’ll need is your phone and its login method.
However, the entire deployment will take some time…
So, when will this major step forward in security take place, you might be wondering? The three internet behemoths claim they’ll make this possible across all of their key platforms in the coming year.
That means Android and Chrome for Google, macOS, iOS, and Safari for Apple, and Windows and Edge for Microsoft.
As a result, acceptance for these more secure FIDO-based logins should skyrocket, streamlining and simplifying sign-ins by doing away with passwords (and related second-layer security such as 2FA).
As previously stated, this isn’t just about convenience; it’s also about security, as it’s no secret how messed up traditional passwords can be when individuals create easy-to-remember passwords that are easily guessable and reuse them several times.
Alternatively, people may fall victim to phishing attempts that extract usernames and passwords, or their personal information may be leaked online through no fault of their own due to a third-party data breach. Thankfully, this new passwordless solution eliminates all of these threats.
Of course, none of this will happen overnight, and as previously said, support will be worked on throughout the rest of this year and into 2023, with effort required not only from the major three tech corporations, but also from site and app developers.
So, while passwords won’t vanish overnight, the good news is that their days are numbered with this statement…
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