In the past, the traditional forms of digital security consisted of a single password for authentication. While convenient in that single passwords are easy to implement and verify, this system was also vulnerable and even inconvenient in other ways. Those vulnerabilities are becoming more apparent as companies move to cloud-based computing and applications, but fortunately, there is a solution like passwordless authentication.
The Password Problems
First, there is the issue with passwords themselves. The weakest security protocol right now is a single-password system because it means that stealing or guessing a password, complete access to data, or complete control of an account is a given. One workaround is to use “strong” passwords that are long, random strings of alphanumeric characters, making them hard for users to remember. So some, due to “password fatigue,” ignore this guidance for convenience. The other solution is to have many passwords to handle different aspects of a system, but due to the number and complexity of passwords, this often requires a passkey manager, which adds an extra layer of interference.
This has resulted in predictable ways to steal passwords. 80% of the data breaches that occur are usually the result of either “phishing,” which tricks users into volunteering passwords through fake emails, phone calls, or other forms of social engineering, or man-in-the-middle attack, which involves spying on a user and monitoring their access activities to steal passwords when they type them in.
The Passkey Arrives For Passwordless Authentication
The passkey concept is a comparatively new idea in digital security, but it brings a lot of promise for passwordless authentication. It is a feature being implemented by companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft in collaboration with the FIDO alliance that creates strong, cryptographic keys generated for you for easy passwordless authentication. Users that find apps that accept passkeys can have passkeys created for every username or account. That passkey is automatically entered with just one touch, similar to the autofill or auto-correct functions for text entry.
The system even allows people to log in to other devices that don’t have a user’s account or passkey system present. All it takes is activating the passkey feature that then creates a QR code that a user’s phone scans so the passkey on the phone can verify and authenticate everything. It’s just one more way that security is working on more durable systems that can eliminate phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks while making passwordless authentication simple and easy for people to use. If you’re interested in using the FIDO protocol and moving to a password-free system, read here to learn more.