Coming up with original and complex passwords and remembering them all is a difficult task. Password managers have helped millions of people create, store, and protect their passwords worldwide. However, as technology evolves, the day may come when passwords won’t be required when logging in to websites and apps.
Created by Apple, Google, and Microsoft in partnership with the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium, Passkeys is a technology that replaces passwords and other authentication methods with biometric data or device pins attached to users’ mobile devices or computers.
It connects websites and apps to the user, creating a strong, secure, and private relationship between them. Its purpose is to provide more accessible, faster, and safer sign-ins, and many companies are already adopting this technology, including PayPal and Best Buy.
The Benefits of Using Passkeys
Since managing so many passwords is impractical, consumers tend to use the same ones across services. This is a bad habit that puts passwords in a vulnerable position. Using passkeys conveniently avoids this, as users can sign into platforms across all gadgets and browsers using either their fingerprint, face recognition, or a pin.
Passkeys are also safer than regular passwords. The technology generates a cryptographic pair of keys; one is public, held by the website or app, and the other is private, stored by your device. So, when trying to access the platform, it sends an encrypted message using your public key, which is decrypted by your private key, proving your authenticity and enabling a successful login.
The private key remains restricted to your device, and the platform doesn’t need to see it, even though it depends on it to complete the authentication. It’s like buying something online: your credit card number may already be saved there, but the purchase can only be completed with the verification code, which only you have.
Moreover, passkeys are credentials that are complex and impossible to guess, and since the private key used to decrypt is stored only on users’ devices, passkeys are protected from being exposed in data leaks. Additionally, as they are unique to each website, people cannot be tricked into falling for phishing scams.
The Flaws of Passkeys
Although it may seem like the perfect solution to all password-related issues, it will take some time until Passkeys is widely used. This is because smaller websites may take longer to adapt to this new technology, so password managers are better suited to platforms that are not prepared for passwordless sign-in.
Another difficulty that users may have with Passkeys is that it always requires a device nearby to authenticate it. To log into an account secured with a passkey from someone else’s computer, a QR code will be generated, so you need your computer or mobile device to read it and access the account. This may be problematic, especially for users with only one device. If that unique device ever gets stolen or runs out of battery, users won’t be able to access their accounts from an unauthorized device.
The Future of Password Managers
Regardless of how promising and revolutionary Passkeys may seem, they won’t entirely replace passwords anytime soon. Many investments need to be made for them to work across all the online services available. As many websites will take some time to provide access through passkeys, you may use them for some platforms but also need to keep storing logins for others. Therefore, relying on password managers is still the best option for keeping your credentials safe and accessible.
These platforms store more than just logins; they also keep personal and financial details safe, which can be accessed whenever needed. Additionally, many offer dark web monitoring, a feature that tracks users’ information to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting them. Some password managers, such as 1Password and Dashlane, have announced that they’re also preparing their systems to be part of the passwordless future. Once they achieve this, users can have the best of both worlds, as they can still store their logins and personal information on their preferred password manager and use a passkey to access it.
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