Google, Apple, and Microsoft are coming together to support a standard that will allow applications and websites to provide passwordless sign-ins across different platforms and devices.
The mentioned companies are arguably the world’s largest browsing giants and operating systems at the moment. These companies have joined forces to back the passwordless norm created by the FIDO alliance. The new standard will prevent threats of phishing and other forms of cyberattacks from adversaries. Besides, this approach will also mean that users do not have to register each device separately.
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Why do we need a passwordless future?
While the biggest tech companies have joined hands to support this approach, the real question is why they are advocating a passwordless future. Andrew Shikari, Executive Director of FIDO Alliance says that major tech firms understand that they cannot address the current issues individually. Besides, phishing attacks are primarily an industry problem, which is why small and large players need to come together to come up with an “industry solution’.
Tech companies need to come together to combat data breaches and other forms of cyberattacks that continue to pose a major threat to the digital economy ecosystem. The unified approach to tackle these challenges will have more impact than taking the proprietory approach since consumers use different browsers and operating systems developed by multiple software vendors. When three of the biggest companies that predominantly control the browser and the OS market come together with a unified approach, the adoption rates will be high.
Having said that, this also comes as a breath of fresh air as these companies are strong rivals and compete against each other every second. Although consumers wish to see strong competition, a collaboration between these companies to tackle the current challenges is the need of the hour.
To key or not to key
Typically, password alternatives bound private keys to certain devices and required using multiple keys for every login instance while browsing through the web. However, this approach comes with its fair share of challenges when users did not have possession of the authentication or had to use a new device. This is why FIDO Alliance has taken a different approach and introduced a new model that has changed the way keys can be accessed.
If you go by the past, authentication vendors were against the cloning and export of private keys as there was some degree of vulnerability. However, things seemed to have changed over the past couple of years as the industry has realized that it is next to impossible to mass deploy phishing-resistant authentication without moving the keys to the cloud.
We are likely to see a passwordless future very soon. Currently, major players including Wayfair, Best Buy, and eBay have all the tools that are needed to support passwordless authentication. However, it continues to be a hurdle for smaller and less sophisticated online retailers who do not have advanced authentication and security capabilities.
What do you think about the passwordless future we are starting right now? Is it worth the hype? Leave your comments below and tell us what you think.
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