It’s been an exciting week as Apple has once again shown its commitment to stronger, standards-based authentication by adding support for Web Authentication Platform Authenticators to iOS, iPadOS, macOS and Safari. With browsers like Safari allowing their users to leverage Face ID or Touch ID based platform authenticators to log in to websites, the final puzzle piece in the authentication game is in place!
It is great to see how quickly Apple has added support for FIDO to their platforms – allowing their users to leverage strong passwordless FIDO authentication. Furthermore, the move by Apple means that users can take advantage of Nok Nok’s passwordless authentication directly in browsers running on iPhones, iPads and Macs going forward, meaning Nok Nok’s reach on mobile browsers increases to approx. 70%.
This milestone has been a long time coming, arriving on the heels of massive momentum for FIDO:
In late 2019 as part of Safari 13, Apple announced support for Web Authentication when using FIDO Security Keys, i.e. the ability to use hardware tokens for strong authentication. These FIDO Security Keys are often deployed by enterprises for workforce authentication.
In February of 2020, Apple joined the FIDO Alliance, which was seen as a public commitment to FIDO and it fueled the expectation of full FIDO support on Apple devices soon.
For large scale customer authentication deployments, however, the first 2 steps didn’t have a significant effect in practice as most customers don’t carry FIDO security keys with them.
The recent announcement to add “Web Authentication Platform Authenticator” to Safari 14 addresses this important use case.
Today, passwordless customer authentication is already practical in Mobile Apps running on Android or iOS devices and in Web Browsers running on Windows 10 PCs and Android smartphones.
Once Safari 14 is shipping and users have updated to this version of Safari, FIDO passwordless authentication can be used on iOS, iPadOS and macOS powered devices – expanding FIDO support to all major platforms – a significant milestone towards a new more secure modern authentication framework for today’s digital world. With coverage across all major platforms, and the many benefits of moving off legacy authentication, there is no reason to wait to embark on your passwordless journey.
And with Nok Nok’s certified Universal Server, organizations can perform and manage FIDO passwordless authentication across all platforms, even including Smart Watches, through a single developer API. The Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite supports all verification steps mentioned in Meet Face ID and Touch ID for the web – WWDC 2020 – Videos and it supports many more features to make passwordless authentication easy for organizations to deploy.