Meet Passkeys: The Internet’s New Security System

By: James Flippin · June 06, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

FIDO Alliance Arrives

Gone are the days of using “password” as a password. Most of today’s internet passcodes require eight characters, three symbols, two capital letters, and a partridge in a pear tree. Also, be sure to choose something you’ll remember every time you pull up the webpage. (Even if you checked “Keep me logged in.”) And keep your phone handy for a two-factor authentication code anyway.

Is all that really necessary just to access your Starbucks (SBUX) rewards? It won’t be for long, if the FIDO Alliance has its way.

The FIDO Alliance is a coalition of some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOGL), and Microsoft (MSFT). They came together a decade ago to find a viable and secure alternative to the traditional text-based password.

Now, FIDO thinks it might have found it: the “passkey.”

Passwords Passé?

The average person has almost 100 passwords. But the dominant mode of internet security isn’t actually all that secure.

Traditional passwords are notoriously easy to hack, no matter how strictly you follow the rules of making a strong password. According to Microsoft, there are 1,287 password attacks every second — or roughly 111 million attacks every day.

The major tech companies of FIDO are in the process of building infrastructure that uses your biometric information to protect your online information, rather than a random string of words and numbers.

Introducing: “Passkeys”

Passkeys work by saving your biometric data, like your face or fingerprint, to your device. You’d then be able to use said date to securely log in on any website or app. Imagine using Apple’s Face or Touch ID to also log into your email, banking app, and favorite social media channel. That is what FIDO hopes to accomplish.

With passkeys, the burden of security would shift from people to tech companies, relieving users of the responsibility to create and manage increasingly complex passwords. You’d never have to worry about having a unique password for every single website you visit. But you’d also have to accept giving Apple, Amazon, and others direct access to your biometric data.

It all comes down to what you value more: convenience or your fingerprint.

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