If you don’t count hackers, phishers and pirates, most computer users hate passwords.
Tech giants have been predicting the death of passwords since 2004 when Bill Gates foretold of their inevitable demise, according to a new story in Insider.
The author, Shubham Agerwal, said he tried out a beta system a few weeks ago that could be a “game changer.” It’s as easy as “signing into an iPhone” with nothing to remember or manage, he said.
Agerwal said that we’re still a long way from a password-free future, but it’s getting closer, experts agree.
The system was developed by FIDO Alliance (Fast Identity Online), formed in 2013 when Apple, Amazon, Google and other big tech companies joined forces to eliminate the antiquated password system with a system called “passkeys,” according to Insider.
Passkeys are a “replacement for passwords that provide faster, easier and more secure sign-ins to websites and apps across a user’s devices.” Passkeys are always strong, resistant to phishing, and will simplify the registration of devices, according to the FIDO alliance. They will also work on most of a user’s devices and even other devices within physical proximity, according to the group’s website.
FIDO’s mission is to shift security to technology and not users, Insider reported. Right now, it’s becoming ever more evident that passwords alone don’t work.
According to Insider, something that millions of computer users already know: passwords are ridiculously easy to crack. Hacker technology has become so sophisticated that it’s far ahead of even the latest, more complex, algorithm-driven security systems.
Users must rely only on their memory. Even the computer-generated long, complex passwords that Google and other operating systems and sites create are not totally secure.
Most humans, many of whom have dozens of sites to log onto at work, will use one password over multiple sites to save time. This leads to a domino effect when one of those passwords is compromised — all the other sites using that password can crack in a split second.
And simple, vulnerable passwords like “Password4Me” and “ABC123″ are far more prevalent than one might think.
Stopgap measures such as second-source authentication and passwords requiring a combination of numbers and letters have already been defeated. They are like a band-aid on a hemorrhage.
The hackers are winning the security war by the sheer volume of attacks. Being one among millions of password users is no longer a defense.
Microsoft reported that there are almost 1,287 password attacks every second, 111 million each day, according to Insider. As of 2018, more than 40 were compromised every second of every day.
And now artificial intelligence can help the bad guys make things worse in a hurry.
The sudden rise of AI use and development has increased the urgency of upgrading security. AI-generated hacks can create deepfake identities and make better malware faster than the human mind can react, according to techopedia.com.
The biggest problem for the FIDO system is that only a handful of companies are using passkeys, Insider reported.
Mass adoption is the key to success, said FIDO Executive Director Andrew Shikar. He told Insider that the number of firms wanting to join the alliance shows “the imperative of the password problem. Momentum will significantly increase over the next 12-to-18 months.”