Why Passwordless Authentication Will Be The Standard For Online Security

In some way or form, passwords play a significant role in our lives. Whether accessing critical information such as banking or personal information needed to carry out tasks, passwords are necessary for day-to-day functions. However, you may have noticed that several industries, including big technology companies, are pushing passwordless authentication solutions. There is a movement, the FIDO2 Project, which aims to standardize user-controlled authentication mechanisms such as a smartphone or a hardware security key. Passwordless authentication is a login method that relies on other factors besides passwords ranging from login keys to biometric data such as a fingerprint or a facial recognition system. 

Additionally, it addresses the many vulnerabilities and complications of password-enabled systems – namely, the threat of bad actors. The reality is that passwords are not hack-proof, underscored by the headlines we read every day about Fortune 500 companies, the tech industry, and password manager enterprises getting breached. 

Why go passwordless?

The push for mass adoption of passwordless authentication is the inevitable result of the deficiencies and vulnerabilities associated with password-centric systems. According to a report by Verizon, 81% of breaches result from weak, stolen, or misused passwords. Passwordless authentication methods avoid the mishaps of password-based systems by removing the main flaw—passwords—from the equation and increasing security while being more convenient and easier to use. 

Eliminating passwords among users can improve their experience and leave virtually no room for error, which can be costly for businesses. Breaches are estimated to incur losses of $3.92 million on average per breach for companies worldwide. Therefore, adopting passwordless authentication not only helps improve security and ease of use but also has the potential to save businesses a ton of money.  

Types of passwordless authentication

If passwords are done away with, then what will be used to replace them? Currently, various authentication methods are in use instead of a password-only process, each of which has advantages. 

One of the most known and secure is biometric authentication, which includes but is not limited to fingerprints and facial recognition. Biometric authentication is one of the safest and easiest-to-use passwordless authenticators because it relies on hack-proof user characteristics. Smartphones are widely adopting this method. 

Another method is cryptographic authentication, which is hailed as the enterprise-grade passwordless solution by the FIDO2 movement. This method relies on a smartphone or physical security key and a FIDO server to act as an intermediator between the authentication process. Even though this process increases security, it can be burdensome to businesses and individuals with additional steps and hardware needed to access vital information. 

 push-based authentication, which relies on receiving a notification on a device to approve a login through an authenticator application. This method may still rely on a password, but it adds another layer of security. 

Finally, there are one-time codes that a user receives as an SMS or email to complete a login. Similar to push-based authentication, one-time authentication relies on passwords.

Passwordless authentication in action

Password usage is declining, and passwordless authentication is closer than you may realize. The clearest example is the increasing use of smartphones that allow users to access them via biometric authentication. In fact, as of 2023, the number of global smartphone users is estimated to be 6.8 billion. And many apps that run on smartphones have biometric authentication, such as banking, healthcare, government, and social media accounts, to name a few. In addition, the ease of accessing a device or an account with a fingerprint or face scan improves user engagement while being more secure and efficient. 

The push for FIDO2 is supposed to offer enterprises a solution to their security and business needs that focuses on security keys. This standard comes with its challenges. For instance, working seamlessly across various devices and operating systems is complicated. There are also concerns about hardware silicon and its vulnerability to malicious actors. Furthermore, hardware silicone has been susceptible to national security concerns as geopolitics may complicate supply chains and disrupt suppliers. 

Conclusion

By eliminating the use and reliance on passwords, businesses stand to remove the primary vulnerability in handling critical information and avoid the potential loss of revenue and damage to their reputation. Passwordless authentication is more secure, user-friendly, and efficient. Its rapid adoption across many industries signals a future where passwords will be a relic of the past. 

Now is the time to start thinking about adopting passwordless authentication and how your business can benefit. 

About Kelvin Zero

Kelvin Zero is a decentralized platform for highly regulated industries. It empowers companies, individuals, and eventually entire industries to realize the benefits of blockchain and Web3 technology while guaranteeing compliance and security within the platform. Founders Philippe Desmarais and Thierry Gagnon sought to find a more efficient solution to protecting sensitive information. 

After learning about the steps and costs banks were taking to secure customer data, they developed a vision to find a new way to interact in the digital world. Kelvin Zero will transform the way in which businesses, governments, and individuals can interact with each other without compromising their sensitive information.