What is Passkey? A Future Without Password [2024 Edition]

Imagine a scenario where you don’t have to use a password again and again to simply sign in to your account or any other website. 

In 2022, Apple and Google are making changes to their phone software and web browsers. They’re introducing a new technology called Passkeys to improve security. Unlike traditional passwords, which have problems like being easy to hack or forget, Passkeys offer a safer alternative.

The tech world is moving towards a future without passwords, but it’s essential to understand the differences between Passkeys and passwords as this shift happens.

So, let’s understand more about Passkeys!

What is Passkey?

Passkey

Passkeys are a modern way to verify your identity online. They’re like digital credentials connected to your user account for a specific website or app. With Passkeys, you can log in without entering a username or password, eliminating the need for additional security steps. The goal is to replace traditional authentication methods like passwords.

When you use a service with Passkeys, your browser or operating system helps you choose and use the right Passkey. It’s a bit like how saved passwords work now. To ensure only you can use your Passkey, the system may ask you to unlock your device using a biometric sensor (like fingerprint or facial recognition), PIN, or pattern. This adds an additional layer of security to the process.

Here is a great video made by Google to better understand Passkey.

How Does Passkey Work?

Passkeys take advantage of Bluetooth but a Physical proximity is required for Bluetooth, and this helps in user verification.

After account connection and sign-in, a push notification is Bluetooth-emailed to the device. In order to generate a distinct public key associated with the login, the user must then unlock their device using their private key, which is either a PIN or biometric authentication. The user will only need to provide their private identification—their selected credential—when prompted during their subsequent login; they won’t need to remember a password. The username field will display the Passkey option.

Passkeys for Google Chrome and Apple iCloud Keychain are synchronized across many devices over the cloud. 

Keychain

The user will need to sync the device to utilize Passkey technology when adding a new one.

Can Passkeys Replace Passwords? 

Since the cost of keeping Passkeys has been shifted to a third-party service provider, you just need to manage the “parent” account to authenticate and acquire access. This is similar to needing single sign-on (SSO) for an account through Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn, except we utilize an account with control over the Passkey kept for each specific website. 

single sign-on

Source: OneLogin

For example, I can use my Google account to save passwords for example.com. This allows me to prove a challenge by authenticating and logging into example.com using the Passkey’s private key. 

For non-technical users, this often appears as a prompt to log in. Because the credentials (i.e., username and password) are linked to the domain name (example.com), and Passkeys established for a domain name are only visible to the user after login, the user can choose which Passkey to use for access. This is generally only one login, but in rare circumstances, you may establish numerous logins for the same domain and then choose which one to use. 

So, what’s the downside? Having to maintain additional cryptographic keys for each login and site for which you have a Passkey typically takes up more space than simply saving a password. However, I would argue that the security benefits, the improved user experience of not having to remember a password, and the avoidance of typical phishing attempts outweigh the added storage space. 

Try Passkey demo here : Passkeys Demo

 Passkeys Demo

Benefits of using Passkeys

  • Increased Security:

Passkeys help combat phishing attacks, a common cyber threat. Traditional passwords are susceptible to interception or theft, making users vulnerable. Passkeys eliminate the need for users to enter passwords, enhancing security.

  • Convenience:

Passkeys are easier to manage and quicker to use than passwords. Users can access their accounts swiftly with a single touch or look, eliminating the need to remember complex passwords. This streamlined process saves time, especially for those managing multiple accounts.

  • Reduced Password Fatigue:

Passkeys alleviate password fatigue and the frustration of remembering multiple complex passwords or having to reset forgotten ones. With passkeys, users only need to remember one method to access all their accounts, reducing the mental burden and enhancing productivity.

  • Lower Risk of Data Breaches:

Passkeys contribute to lowering the risk of data breaches by eliminating the need for passwords, often the weak link in security. Passwords can be efficiently guessed or stolen, but passkeys, being more robust, make it harder for unauthorized access. This enhances data protection for businesses and users alike.

  • Better User Experience:

Passkeys not only boost security but also provide a choice user experience compared to traditional passwords. The seamless login process enhances customer satisfaction and fosters brand loyalty. The simplicity of Passkeys improves the overall user experience, making interactions with a business more positive and memorable.

Wrapping up 

Passkeys convey a significant leap towards a future without traditional passwords. This innovative authentication solution not only enhances security by eliminating vulnerabilities associated with passwords but also offers a more suitable and streamlined user experience. Passkeys address common challenges such as phishing, password fatigue, and the risk of data breaches, making them a promising alternative to online security. As major tech players like Apple and Google embrace passkey technology, it becomes clear that this evolution in authentication methods is well underway, promising a future where users can enjoy heightened security without the hassles of remembering and managing multiple passwords.

FAQs on Passkey

What exactly is a Passkey?

A Passkey is a modern digital credential linked to a user account for authentication on websites and applications. It serves as a cutting-edge alternative to traditional passwords, aiming to heighten security while simplifying the login process.

How do Passkeys function in securing my account?

Passkeys leverage Bluetooth technology to establish a secure connection. After initial setup and account linking, a push notification is transmitted through Bluetooth. The user then unlocks their device using biometric authentication or a PIN, generating a unique public key for secure logins.

Can I use Passkeys across multiple devices?

Absolutely. Passkeys can be seamlessly synchronized across various devices through cloud services like Google’s Chrome password and Apple’s iCloud Keychain. When incorporating a new device, synchronization is essential to enable the use of Passkey technology.

How do Passkeys contribute to a future without passwords?

Passkeys eliminate the necessity for traditional passwords, offering a more secure and user-friendly authentication method. With major tech companies embracing Passkey technology, it signifies a broader shift towards a future where users can enjoy enhanced security without the hassles of managing passwords.

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