Apple, Google and Microsoft take new step toward a ‘passwordless future’Leigh Mc Gowranon May 5, 2022 at 14:20 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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Three tech giants are making moves toward a future without passwords, as Apple, Google, and Microsoft share plans to expand support for alternative sign-in methods.

The companies announced a joint effort today (5 May) to support common passwordless sign-in standards created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium.

These tech giants already support passwordless sign-in options, but usually require users to sign-in to each website or app with their device before they can use passwordless functionality.

Over the next year, the tech giants plan to allow users to automatically access their FIDO sign-in credentials without having to sign-in with every account. The companies also plan to let people use FIDO authentication mobile devices to sign-in to an app or website on a nearby device, regardless of the OS platform or browser they are running.

“This milestone is a testament to the collaborative work being done across the industry to increase protection and eliminate outdated password-based authentication,” Google senior director of product management Mark Risher said. “For Google, it represents nearly a decade of work we’ve done alongside FIDO, as part of our continued innovation towards a passwordless future.”

FIDO said passwords are one of the biggest security problems on the web, as many consumers end up reusing the same password across multiple services, which can lead to data breaches and account takeovers.

The alliance said that through expanded standards-based capabilities, users can sign in by using the same action they take to unlock their devices, such as a fingerprint or a device PIN.

FIDO said this is more secure than passwords or “legacy multi-factor technologies” such as one time passwords being sent through email or text.

“Ubiquity and usability are critical to seeing multi-factor authentication adopted at scale, and we applaud Apple, Google, and Microsoft for helping make this objective a reality by committing to support this user-friendly innovation in their platforms and products,” FIDO Alliance CMO Andrew Shikiar said.

“This new capability stands to usher in a new wave of low-friction FIDO implementations alongside the ongoing and growing utilisation of security keys – giving service providers a full range of options for deploying modern, phishing-resistant authentication,” Shikiar added.

Craig Lurey, CTO and co-founder of cybersecurity company Keeper Security, told SiliconRepublic.com last year that “no matter how much we innovate, passwords are here to stay”. He noted that password use was exponentially increasing with the world’s transformation towards software use and cloud-based approaches.

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