Is This the End of Passwords?

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Nobody likes passwords.

Creating them. Remembering them. Typing them in.

Your whole mood can change when an application you’re using suddenly logs you out, and you have to go through login all over again.

It’s frustrating for everyone.

So, here’s some very welcome news, courtesy of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. The tech giants have joined forces to kill off the password for good.

Over the coming year, they plan to roll out no-password logins across all their platforms, using a standard set by the FIDO (Fast Identification Online) Alliance. This sets the worldwide standards for passwordless authentication.

That’s a bit of a mouthful… so some people call this a passkey. A lot easier to remember.

A passkey works similarly to multi-factor authentication (using a separate device to prove it’s you) but with less effort required.

It’s straightforward. To log in to something, you’ll use your phone to prove it’s you.

Your computer will use Bluetooth to verify you’re sitting nearby. Because Bluetooth only works a short distance, this should stop many phishing scams.

Then it’ll send a verification message to your phone.

You’ll unlock your phone in the usual way, with your face, fingerprint, or PIN.

And that’s it. You’re logged in.

Passkeys rely on something called public-key cryptography. A key pair is made between the website and your phone when you register with an application or website.

These are long numbers that are connected in some way. But you’ll never see them, and you certainly don’t have to remember them. Your phone verifies the pair when you unlock it in the usual way.

And you don’t have to worry about losing your phone. It’s not enough to have your device… someone must be able to unlock it as well.

Your passkeys will be backed up in the cloud, so you can transfer over your information if you get a new device. In the same way, it’s now easy to set up a new phone to be just like your old device.

These passkeys are not only more straightforward for you but should keep your data safer.

There is no password for cybercriminals to steal. And your phone needs to be close to your computer to log in. It’s not foolproof, but it’s better than the current situation with passwords and multi-factor authentication.

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