Fido2 Alliance

What is FIDO2

Fido2 Alliance

Table of Contents

What is passwordless authentication FIDO2?

FIDO2 – As days fly by, technology keeps changing, bringing in new inventions. What used to be more modernized are now outdated. There was a time when passwords meant everything, but now, they are the talk of the past. Just to say, passwords are outdated because more convenient solutions made them redundant. One of the advancements is the introduction of passwordless authentication FIDO2. But despite these improvements, not everybody is conversant with the improved security and convenience of passwordless solutions.

Many are now asking What is Passwordless Authentication FIDO2

Passwordless authentication FIDO2 is an open authentication standard that is anchored by the FIDO Alliance. The technology comprises the W3C Web Authentication specification and the client to Authentication Protocol. Client to Authentication Protocol refers to an application layer protocol meant for communication between a platform (operating system) or client (browser) with an external authenticator like Yubikey Five series.

The core contributor to the FIDO2 open authentication protocol is Yubico. In other words, FIDO2 is a FIDO U2F extension that provides a similar level of top-notch security based on public-key cryptography. The Yubikey can fully replace a weak static password or username details with strong hardware-backed private/public essential credentials with the current abilities. These credentials cannot be shared, reused or replayed across services and are not subject to MiTM attacks, server attacks or phishing.

What are the Authentication options for FIDO2?

a. Passwordless authentication

This is a robust single-factor authentication via a hardware authenticator. The option gets rid of the need for weak password-based authentication.

b. Two-factor authentication

This robust dual authentication via a hardware authenticator provides an additional layer of protection than a password.

c. Multi-factor authentication

This is a robust multi-factor authentication via a biometric or pin and hardware for the authenticator. This ensures that the authentication meets high assurance requirements like those required for prescription ordering and financial transactions.

Reasons for using FIDO2 for passwordless authentication

  • It is essential to use FIDO2 for passwordless authentication because it has other options available, one-time passwords or OTP sent through SMS, time or event-based OTP tokens. Still, all offer a clunky experience worse than passwords. Moreover, they are not as secure as the alternative options.
  • FIDO2 is a standards-based technique of user authentication that is passwordless, supporting biometrics and pin. Unlike OTP-based solutions, FIDO2 utilizes cryptography to secure the authentication process, and its users can authenticate via a smartphone, a browser or hardware security key.
  •  Through generating a private key on the device and associating it with an off-device public key, the secret key on which the authentication is based. This authentication does not leave the device it is meant to protect and hence resistant to common attacks directed to passwords, for instance, password theft and dictionary attacks.
  •  Moreover, cryptography is used to show the kind of device in use by using on-device public key cryptography featuring an x509 certificate burned into devices that support FIDO standards at the manufacturing point. This extra security layer helps organizations know the devices they can trust.
  • A variety of devices support FIDO2, allowing users to authenticate via android or ios devices, smart cards, security keys from vendors like Fetian, Thames, Yubico, Authen Trend.

With FIDO2 a user can...

  •  Eliminate helpdesk expenses related to bygone passwords by replacing them with a fingerprint or simple pin.
  • Eliminate the user experience hassles for long passwords to develop, memorize and resent so that the workforce can seamlessly and effortlessly get on with their tasks.

How to use FIDO2 passwordless authentication

To use FIDO2 passwordless authentication for workers’ identity solutions, you should have a solution that can work with your current company infrastructure.

Registration

A company requires policy control to ensure that the staff has gone through thorough identity checks to develop a trusted identity.

Issuance

The company requires policy control over

  • Who to give the FIDO credentials
  • Who can get the credentials
  • The kind of FIDO device to e used
  • Consider the type of user verification required
  • The end-user requires a simple experience during the FIDO credential registration.
  • The company should trust the FIDO devices genuineness

Life cycle management

  • Vision who has been given the FIDO details
  • Capacity to withdraw access to all systems that the FIDO credential accesses
  • Capacity to manage lifecycle incidences back up devices, lost devices/ replacement devices

Authentication

The end-user should have a straightforward experience to authenticate to systems.

The authentication server for FIDO needs to be connected to the existing systems in the company.

Policy control to make sure that only the right people have access to the systems they should access.

Advantages of FIDO2

1. FIDO2 has a solid and robust security

FIDO2 replaces weak passwords with robust hardware-based authentication via public key crypto to secure against session hijacking, malware attacks and phishing. FIDO2 ensures that there are no secrets shared between services.

2. FIDO2 offers open standards

FIDO2 gives users product choice and flexibility. The technology is designed for existing computers and phones, for most authentication modalities and with a myriad of communication techniques, including NFC and USB.

3. Step-up authentication

FIDO2 offers step-up authentication hence ideal for services that require a higher authentication level. This allows for a robust passwordless( single factor, two factor and multi-factor authentication for extra security.

4. Convenience of FIDO2

FIDO2 promotes convenience as its users can unlock login credentials with inbuilt methods like cameras or fingerprint readers on the devices. The users have the benefit of device choice as they can select the device that suits their needs.

Conclusion

FIDO2 is a collective term for passwordless authentication open standard put forward by Fast Identity online alliance, a company that comprises service providers and technology organizations. The technology consists of two major elements; WebAuthn API and the Client to Authenticator protocol that gives FIDO2 enabled devices an interface for external authenticators through Bluetooth, USB or NFC. This passwordless technology is deemed a successor to the earlier authentication standards FIDO 2F and FIDO UAF. The technology has made security an easy and effortless task for most organizations and individuals. It has eliminated the risks of phishing attacks and hackers accessing company information.