The password-less future has taken one large step closer to becoming a reality following the roll-out of Google’s passkey service.
The search giant has joined forces with other tech behemoths including Apple and Microsoft to not only develop the technology but also foster the change in habits and beliefs that would do away with alphanumeric passwords for good.
Traditional passwords may seem secure on the surface (especially with requirements often asking for letters, numbers, special characters and more), but in reality they’ve long been seen as the ‘least worst’ option. In fact, they can be alarmingly easy to crack by hackers with the right know how or technology, either by phishing for login credentials or simply forcing the lock through malevolent algorithms.
Plus, don’t forget the danger of re-using passwords across accounts, which may make remembering logins easy, but also gives anyone with access to one account a master key to get into all of them.
Alternatives to traditional passwords have been in existence for many years already. The problem has been more about uptake, with some consumers reluctant to change and businesses willing to rely on the ease and lower cost of older methods (instead of two-factor authentication, say, which may require text messages being sent, or biometric technology which needs investment, not to mention careful storage of sensitive personal data).
Now, Google has taken a large step towards making the future ‘password-less’, by rolling out a passkey option that people can use to sign into its services.
As computerweekly.com says: “The concept of a passkey has been around for a while, but their adoption at Google is a clear signal they may now be heading towards mainstream acceptance.”
Passkeys should be very familiar to anyone with a smartphone, taking the form of fingerprint logins, facial recognition or even screen lock pins. Whilst a relatively small change from alphanumeric passwords (and potentially much quicker to use once you get them set up) biometric passkeys are significantly more secure because they cannot be written down, shared, or easily scraped from data breaches and then deployed – making them resistant to online attacks.
For its part, Google has pledged to not only monitor the situation closely, but also help people “take this next leap” so they can utilise all the benefits that a safer, more secure login will provide.