How Google, Apple and Microsoft Want to Make Passwords Disappear

The three tech giants will offer an authentication system using its smartphone, whether it runs on iOS or Android.

The ordeal of passwords could end: Google, Apple and Microsoft announced Thursday an agreement to build a system allowing authentication without having to memorize a series of cabalistic signs.

“With the new feature, consumers could authenticate to websites and mobile apps easily, password-free and securely, regardless of device or operating system,” FIDO summarized. Alliance (Fast Identity Online Alliance) in a press release.

Since 2012, it has brought together industry players to work on common authentication systems.

The goal, explains Google, is for users to be able to connect to an online service simply by unlocking their smartphone (via their usual method: fingerprint, facial digit recognition, number code, etc.)

Concretely, a website can ask the Internet user if he wants to “authenticate himself with his FIDO identifiers”. This message will appear simultaneously on his phone, where the user will just need to accept, by unlocking his screen, to be connected to the site.

Smartphones keep these coded identifiers, called “passkey” (access key).

Implementation within twelve months

The three technology giants have committed to implementing this new system within twelve months, on Android and iOS (the mobile operating systems of Google and Apple), on Chrome, Edge and Safari (the browsers of Google, Microsoft and Apple) and on Windows and macOS (the Microsoft and Apple operating systems for computers).

“Password-only authentication is one of the most significant security issues on the web,” Apple notes in its statement.

Unable to manage so many different passwords, individuals often reuse the same one, which facilitates account takeovers, data leaks and identity theft.

“The new protective approach to phishing and logging into a service will be radically safer than passwords and other technologies such as unique codes sent by SMS”, adds the iPhone manufacturer.

The three companies made their announcement on World Password Day.

Alex Simons, vice president of Microsoft, spoke in the FIDO Alliance press release of a “complete transition to a world without passwords” where “consumers would get into the habit of going without them on a daily basis”.

Once the technology is made available, the millions of websites require the creation of an account then decide whether or not to offer this new service to Internet users.

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