Password vs. Passwordless Authentication

Password vs. Passwordless Authentication

The Battle Between Passwords and Passwordless Authentication has only just begun

Password vs. Passwordless Authentication

Table of Contents

Password vs. Passwordless Authentication – We all know that the world becomes more connected, it has become easier for hackers to steal information so we must give a fair assessment to both sides of this. One of the most common ways that hackers steal information is by trying to guess passwords. There are two types of authentication systems for security: password and passwordless. Password based authentication is often used in conjunction with two-factor authentication, which makes it impossible for someone to steal your password without also getting your phone or other device.

Passwordless authentication is the way of the future. In a world where information is seemingly more accessible than ever before, it’s important to ensure that we use robust technology that protects us from hackers and malicious actors.

Password History - Where Invented the Password?

According to Computer History and Wired, MIT‘s Compatible Time-Sharing System in the mid-1960s is where the password’s origins can be traced back to. It enabled a large number of people to share a single mainframe computer. In order to keep track of how much resources each user has used, the password was created as an accounting tool. When some users published their passwords and others wanted stronger security, the focus moved to authentication rather than security. A “method and instrument for positively identifying a person” was developed in the 1980s by Security Dynamics Technologies. A second layer of protection is provided by multi-factor authentication, which has grown in popularity over the last two decades.

Password Theft

Password theft and data dumps have become commonplace, making MFA and password primary authentication more important. In the 60 years after its introduction, the single-factor password has shown to be ineffective. An anonymous developer disclosed 2.2 billion usernames and passwords across attacker forums in 2019, which at the time was the greatest collection of breaches (Wired). With advances in secondary factors like cellphones and biometrics, many are questioning the necessity for passwords and if they are really necessary. Because passwords are the weakest link in the authentication chain, why force users to use them? In light of this understanding, the industry has shifted its focus away from passwords in favor of more secure and streamlined authentication systems. The present digital transition necessitates the adoption of passwordless authentication, according to tech and security experts.

In a recent data breach, the personal information of over 500 million customers was compromised. In a statement to Yahoo Finance, GoDaddy said they were looking into the incident. The hacking is the latest in a string of breaches including Equifax and Facebook that have created international panic. This cyber attack has also prompted discussion about whether or not corporations are doing enough to protect consumer information.

GoDaddy has been hacked. The company struggles to fix the issue, notifying customers about the attack and suggesting steps to take to protect themselves. The company does not know how much data was compromised or who is behind the attack – Who’s Not your Daddy?

Authentication without the need for a password

It is possible to authenticate a user’s identity without requiring a password. passwordless employs more secure alternatives like one-time passwords, registered devices, or biometric authentication being fingerprint or eye scans today. There has been a lengthy history of password theft. As a result, they’re difficult to recall and easy to lose. Because of this, hackers have made them their primary target. Weak or stolen passwords account for more than eight out of ten hacking incidents.

When it comes to Password vs. Passwordless Authentication what information is there on how authentication functions?

Passwords are removed from the authentication process in favor of more secure alternatives. It is possible to utilize password-based authentication, in which an individual’s password is compared to the database’s records. A user’s unique traits are compared in a similar way to passwords in passwordless systems like biometric authentication. It may be done by taking a picture of someone’s face; extracting numerical data from it; and then comparing it to data that has been confirmed.

When comparing passwordless implementations, it is possible that the results will vary. Using an example, a system may send an SMS with a one-time passcode to a user’s cell phone. When the user gets it, he or she types it into the box and logs in. Passwords entered by users are compared to the ones supplied to them. Passwordless authentication uses the same cryptographic key pair as digital certificates: a private and a public key. Think of the public key as the padlock and the private key as the real key that opens it, even though they are both called keys.

There is only one key for the padlock and only one padlock for the key in digital certificates. To produce a public private key, a user has to utilize a tool such as an app on a phone or a a browser plugin, etc. An authentication factor, such as a fingerprint, PIN, or one-time password, is required to get access to the user’s private key. Using the user’s public key is required to secure an account on the desired system.

Adaptive authentication may be used in conjunction with passwordless authentication.

As a considerable advance over passwords, passwordless authentication is still not completely secure. In addition to biometrics, OTPs may be intercepted, and hardware tokens can be hacked. In order to validate identification, you need an adaptive authentication system that uses more than just the traditional authentication elements. In order to identify normal user behavior, adaptive authentication use machine learning to learn from past experiences. Login attempts are considered dangerous if the system observes a change from its usual routine.

For example, let’s say a person signs in to the system, using their laptop, at the same time every weekday for the last several months. In the long run, the system learns that this is how the user logs in. In the end, the user signs in on a Saturday for the first time ever. It was still early in the morning, they were still using the same laptop, and their physical position was the same. This conduct carries a higher risk score in the system, necessitating the usage of a supplementary authentication factor such as an SMS one-time password.

Once again, the same person attempts to log in from a different location and using an entirely new device. It blocks the user after calculating an increasingly rising danger score. It was subsequently discovered that the user’s identity had been faked by a cybercriminal.

When it comes to Password vs. Passwordless Authentication how will we sign in in the future?

Passwords are still widely used, despite the fact that their usage has decreased significantly in recent years. For the most part, a password-based login system is the simplest and most cost-effective way to log in. Passwordless, on the other hand, is expected to take the lead in the future. 

We’ve experienced more cyberattacks in the previous two years than ever before. More and more corporations are taking notice of this, with biometrics and adaptive authentication becoming more popular.

It has also been shown that passwords are the most common cause of data breaches. Because of the penalties and damages associated with data breaches, the cost of becoming passwordless is negligible. Finally, passwords are a bother for users. It’s difficult to remember and difficult to reset. In contrast, passwordless security methods, such as biometrics, are more convenient and user-friendly than passwords.

There are several corporate advantages to replacing passwords with passwordless authentication, including improved user experience, decreased IT expenses, and a more secure system. WebAuthn and CTAP open standards must be used in conjunction with the Microsoft Authenticator app, facial recognition APIs, and fingerprint APIs to make passwordless possible.

Passwordless login is the way of the future for online services.

In spite of the fact that this hasn’t been a comprehensive look at all aspects of passwordless authentication, it’s evident that its technological underpinnings are safe and secure. The most common login technique, username and password, is by no means the most secure. Yes, a lot of this is based on how people interact with the system. As a result, we are unable to keep track of and utilize a unique, safe password for each and every accounts

As a result, passwordless authentication is becoming a more common method of logging in. Passwordless access is becoming more and more appealing to consumers as they have more devices and accounts to manage than ever before. In other cases, you may have to save the user from oneself, and passwordless is the obvious winner.

In another post we talk of Implementing Passwordless Authentication that you might find useful

Password vs. Passwordless Authentication the Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that a passwordless authentication system is the best solution to solve cyber security breaches.

Passwordless authentication systems are a better way to prevent cyber security breaches. Passwordless authentication systems allow for a higher level of security because your identity can be established without a password or ID number. Your personal information is only shared with the device that you are using.