A world without passwords ?

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Google, Apple and Microsoft want to get rid of passwords. The three big IT companies are indeed suggesting to switch to « passwordless » authentication for all their services to finally offer all Internet users a secure world without passwords.

« With the new feature, consumers will be able to authenticate on websites and mobile apps easily, password-free and securely, regardless of device or operating system, » the Fast Identity Online Alliance (FIDO) summarized in a statement.

A long-standing initiative 

The initiative brings together industry players since 2012 to work on common authentication systems. 

The goal, explained Google, is that users can connect to an online service simply by unlocking their smartphone (via their usual method: fingerprint, facial recognition, code of several digits …). 

In concrete terms, a website will be able to ask the user if he wants to « authenticate himself with his FIDO credentials ». This message will appear simultaneously on the user’s phone, where the user will just need to accept, by unlocking his screen, to be connected to the website.

Microsoft ahead of the game 

Microsoft led the way last September, offering Microsoft Account users the ability to live without a password. This is achieved through two-factor authentication using smartphones, biometrics and the Authenticator application.

Apple and Google still have a long way to go to make password-free authentication a reality for all their services. And they will have to work twice as hard to achieve widespread use of passwordless authentication mechanisms in the coming year.

One year to get there 

The three tech giants have pledged, on World Password Day, to implement the new system within 12 months on Android and iOS (Google’s and Apple’s mobile operating systems), on Chrome, Edge and Safari (Google’s, Microsoft’s and Apple’s browsers) and on Windows and macOS (Microsoft’s and Apple’s operating systems for computers). 

Alex Simons, vice-president of Microsoft, spoke in the FIDO Alliance press release of a « complete transition to a password-free world » where « consumers will become accustomed to doing without passwords on a daily basis ».

 

 

Sources : 

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