California: In Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020, Apple had announced that it is going to allow its users to sign-in to websites on Safari using Face ID and Touch ID. But now, the tech giant is taking that a step further and is all set to introduce password-less sign-ups.
During a developer session called ‘Move beyond passwords’, Apple introduced something they call ‘Passkeys’, that lets users to sign up for services without any passwords. “Despite their prevalence, passwords inherently come with challenges that make them poorly suited to securing someone’s online accounts,” Apple explained.
How will Passkeys work?
When you visit a website that supports Passkeys, you will be required to enter your username of choice upon registering and then use Face ID or Touch ID to sign in instead of using a password. Your Face ID or Touch ID will be used to authenticate you and sign you in. Passkey is coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Macs later this year as a technology preview so it will be turned off by default. This new Passkey tech is a part of the iCloud keychain and it is based on FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance’s WebAuthn protocol. Apple joined this alliance last year to support password-free authentication.
This ‘Passkey’ seems a pretty secure method for authentication and will supposedly prevent users from falling prey to a phishing attack. However, this tech is not going to work for devices that aren’t a part of the Apple ecosystem. With those Android devices, one will still have to use passwords.
But it’s not all bad news since Google and Microsoft already have support for password-less logins through biometric authentication and hardware keys like ‘Yubico’. Earlier in March, Microsoft had mentioned that more than 200 million accounts are already using a login method that doesn’t involve passwords.
Besides this cutting edge technology involving ‘Passkeys’, Apple has also created APIs for hardware security keys in macOS Monterey and iOS 15. Developer beta for iOS 15 is currently out and the public beta is coming soon. Whereas, developer beta for Monterey and watchOS 8 is also out.