IT managers and security professionals have searched for years to find better alter-natives to password-only authentication, which is one of the biggest security problems on the web. Passwords are prone to being hacked through dictionary attacks, brute-force attacks, and social engineering attacks. The sale of stolen passwords on the dark web proves that passwords are not a foolproof method of authentication and have security vulnerabilities.
Managing so many passwords is also cumbersome for users, often leading them to reuse the same passwords across services.
This practice can result in costly account takeovers, data breaches, and even stolen identities. While password managers and legacy forms of two-factor authentication offer incremental improvements, there’s been industry-wide collaboration to create more convenient and secure sign-in technology.
What technology is replacing passwords or will do so soon?
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – This method requires more than one factor or element to verify a user’s identity. With MFA, traditional passwords are replaced with PINs (personal identification numbers) or OTPs (one-time passwords). Other approaches can include biometrics, codes on authenticator apps, and codes in emails.
Biometric Authentication – Users must provide their biological data — such as touch ID, facial recognition, fingerprints, DNA matching, and retina scanning — as proof of identity to gain access. Biometric authentication is the most reliable method to fight password fatigue and implement passwordless authentication.
Behavioral Recognition – To determine whether to trust a user and give access, behavioral recognition considers multiple data points to create a score. The data collected and analyzed can include keystroke dynamics, gait recognition, voice ID, mouse and touch use characteristics, and location behavior.
Stronger cybersecurity is the main benefit of passwordless authentication since it pre-vents password-related cyberattacks. In addition, passwordless authentication methods are often resistant to phishing because users won’t be sending any login credentials via email or text to a hacker.
Another benefit is a faster and more convenient login experience for users. They no longer need to spend time creating, entering, and managing strong passwords, thereby eliminating password fatigue. In the workplace, employees can dedicate more time to productive tasks.
Apple, Google, and Microsoft announced plans in May 2022 to expand support for a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. The new capability will allow websites and apps to offer consistent, secure, and easy passwordless sign-ins to consumers across devices and platforms.
The expanded standards-based capabilities will provide the ability to offer an end-to-end passwordless option. Users will be able to sign in and
access an account through a simple action similar to what they now do daily to unlock their devices, such as the verification of their fingerprint on
the edge of an iPad to unlock it. This new approach protects against phishing, and sign-in will be more secure when compared to passwords and legacy multi-factor technologies such as one-time passcodes sent via text.
The aforementioned companies have collaborated on passkey technology, which allows authentication with fingerprint ID, facial ID, or a PIN on the phone or device you use for authentication. Additional companies are also using passkey technology in their systems, including DocuSign, Kayak, PayPal, and Shopify.