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From Passwords to Passwordless Authentication

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@irfanshakeelIrfan Shakeel

CEO & Lead trainer EH Academy (online cybersecurity training company by ehacking.net)

Due to cyber threats, security experts despise passwords. Even users dislike passwords because they are difficult to remember. Despite our dissatisfaction with passwords, they are the primary authentication method since their creation; however, this is evolving.

This article delves into the topic of passwordless authentication. You will read about the security advantages of passwordless authentication. As well as why organizations should adopt this technology?

Passwordless Authentication

Passwordless authentication is the authentication mechanism that does not require passwords. None is encrypted, transferred between a device and a server, or utilize in a single sign-on scenario, and attackers cannot access credentials as there aren't any.

The implementation of passwordless authentication is a little more complex. Some approaches of passwordless authentication are:

  1. Biometrics-based authentication (thumb, facial recognition, etc.)
  2. a token sent via email or text
  3. or a magic link

All these passwordless authentication approaches have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Users have become used to unlocking
their gadgets and phone applications via biometric technology. However, privacy concerns about what occurs if biometric information reveals in a data breach could stymie the technology's widespread acceptance. When opposed to passwords, magic links and tokens have a good security experience. Neither, however, confirms a person's identity.

The Benefits Passwordless Authentication Give:

  1. Users won't have to recall passwords, and they'll have quick access to services and apps.
  2. Staff members, customers, and payment authentication all improve from the removal of passwords. According to LastPass, IT and employees agree:
  3. 95% believe there are risks to using passwords.
  4. 85% agree their organization should reduce the number of passwords used daily.
  5. As organizations utilize more web services and apps at the workplace, regular monitoring of passwords becomes complicated.
  6. Although browsers can save passwords, most organizations have password policies that encourage users to update their login credentials. Eliminating passwords from the organization boosts job efficiency by altering the process of password recovery. Usually, updating a password entails calling the IT team and awaiting one to respond to requests. According to Okta, password resets cost organizations $70 per employee.
  7. Passwords are often compromised because of security breaches and fall into the hands of attackers who misuse them in several threats. According to the report, 32% of phishing and 29% stolen credentials were involved in security incidents. The security vulnerabilities correlated with passwords reduced by removing them. If there are no passwords to hack out of workers, phishing attacks end up losing their value.

Why Organizations Should Adopt It

According to Ant Allan, Vice President Analyst, Gartner:

By 2022, Gartner predicts that 60% of large and global enterprises, and 90% of midsize enterprises, will implement passwordless methods in more than 50% of use cases โ€” up from 5% in 2018.

According to Security Magazine:

92% of businesses believe going passwordless is the future.

If your organization wants to reduce the security threat linked
with credentials, going Passwordless Is A Good Choice. Authenticity has
become the new shield, and to protect it, organizations must implement security controls that apply to all clients and their systems.

To counter this, several enterprises are implementing a zero-trust protection strategy, wherein trust validates at each login request. The security should be undetectable and do not affect user efficiency.

Passwordless authentication is a critical component of establishing client trust in a more user-friendly, easy, and safe manner. Companies no longer have to retain passwords resulting in improved privacy, fewer attacks, and low associated expenses.

Passwordless authentication is possible across organizations
thanks to new technologies such as:

  • Web Authentication API (WebAuthN)
  • Quick Identity Online (FIDO2)
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Single-Sign-On
  • System Trust Technologies

As biometrics for laptops and smartphones become more common,
the number of password alternatives in the professional world has grown. Microsoft has a strong interest in organizational passwordless authentication acceptance. The Windows 10 release enables users to access Microsoft profiles using Windows Hello rather than a password to promote the usage of biometrics in the organization.

Final Thoughts

Passwordless authentication improves security and customer experience, but it necessitates an internal development attitude. Begin with a low-risk community and describe the advantages of not using passwords. Implement MFA with a passwordless authentication method until users are satisfied with that, then begin eliminating passwords and password requirements in the process.

Donโ€™t let perfection stand in the way of progress. Every step toward passwordless is a step toward improving your security posture. - Bret Arsenault, CISO for Microsoft

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