Is Passwordless Authentication Safe – We use passwords for pretty much everything these days, and they are used to log in to social networks, email or any other platform and to turn on devices like mobile phones or computers. However, passwordless methods have been increasing lately.
Passwordless authentication is a confirmation process that determines if someone is, in fact, who they say they are without requiring the person to enter a string of characters manually. Authentication methods include biometrics, security tokens, and connection from another application, service, or device that has already authenticated the user. In reality, it is about ignoring the keys to increase security. It means we can log in without having to put in a password. What advantages and disadvantages does this have? We are going to talk about it.
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Passwordless Authentication Definition
Passwordless authentication verifies a user’s identity using an additional factor beyond the traditional password(PIN) or security question. Usually, passwordless authentication is used to access applications or a computer network and includes PIN or biometric data.
What are the different kinds of passwordless authentication?
Some of the more common means of passwordless authentication used by organizations include:
- Biometrics: fingerprint, voice or facial recognition, or identification by retina scan
- PIN code: usually a 4-6 digit PIN code
- Passwordless authentication via SMS and email
- hardware token or USB devices
There are many services and APIs available where you can take advantage of passwordless authentication and embed it into your applications instead of building an in-house solution. They are cost-effective, save development time, and give you great security for just paying a nominal fee. Some of them are also accessible for FREE! In addition, Globaldots passwordless solution is a company that provides the best passwordless authentication solutions to their customers.
How Does Passwordless Authentication Work?
Passwordless authentication is based on a cryptographic key pair using a private key (known only to the owner/user) and a public key (which can be known to others). We can think that the public key is the lock and the private key is the only key held by the user to open that lock.
The public key is generated when the user enrols in the authentication service. At the same time, the private key is stored on the user’s trusted device and can only be used by providing proof of identity, that is, the second factor (not a password). , of course).
Pros of Passwordless Authentication
Not using passwords means that we can log in simply with our fingerprint, facial recognition or a physical USB device to authenticate ourselves. There are different methods and what they all do is avoid having to enter a PIN or password to enter.
One of the clear advantages is that we don’t have to remember passwords. Simply put your finger on the screen, and use facial recognition or any other method. This will provide comfort since we will not have to memorize the passwords nor have to enter them every time we log in.
It also helps security, at least to some extent. We are not going to be victims of methods such as keyloggers, which collect the passwords we type on the keyboard. In this case, we are not writing anything but simply using methods without a password, which provides a plus of security.
Another interesting point is that we are going to have everything concentrated. That is to say, and we do not have to use multiple passwords to log in to Facebook, to the bank account, or to the mail. We are simply going to use the fingerprint or any method, and that’s it. We won’t have to use something different for each case.
Cons of using Passwordless authentication
But passwordless authentication is not only positive, and the truth is that using passwordless methods also has certain complications. We are going to understand which are the most important and thus be able to put on a scale to avoid problems that may affect our devices and registries.
One of the cons is that it is not as secure as we might imagine. Although it is true that security has improved a lot, we can also have problems. One of them is that there is the possibility of cloning our fingerprints or even facial recognition through different tools. They could also steal our physical devices to authenticate us.
Another negative point is that it is rarely complete without passwords. That is, we can log in to social networks or bank accounts with fingerprints, but we will also have to create an access code. Although we are not putting it constantly, we will have to create a password.
Furthermore, it should also be mentioned that these methods are limited. We cannot use them on any web page, device or record. Although it is becoming more widespread, the truth is that it is still not present in as many services as we would like. However, it is something that will undoubtedly increase, and this may no longer be a disadvantage in the future.
Why combine multi-factor authentication (MFA) and passwordless authentication?
Over the years, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) has become a key element in achieving a Zero Trust environment. Implementing a “Passwordless MFA” allows you to enjoy the benefits of an MFA solution and passwordless authentication.
The most common authentication factors used in Passwordless MFA are a PIN or a biometric factor associated with the trusted device that the user has enrolled.
However, keep in mind that not all strong authentication (MFA) solutions are the same, as the technologies used are often very different.
In short, these are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of not using passwords to log in to Internet platforms. As you have seen, it is a matter of balancing what is most interesting, although you will not always be able to choose between both options. That is to say, and the world is slowly moving towards passwordless technology as the risk of online threats never seems to stop. In a situation like this, you need to make sure that you develop applications with the latest technologies that help your users reduce the probability of attacks and promote your product.