Apple launched Passkeys with iOS 16 as a more authentic and secure mechanism. It is safer than passwords, and it is more efficient in comparison to passwords. Apple users using iOS 16 passkeys features should enable two-factor authentication. The passkeys are an unchallenging mechanism than the passwords for the passkeys. The user just has to open the apps and websites, and then the biometric sensor automatically recognises the face and fingerprints. There can be a PIN and pattern used to log instead of passwords. The passkeys add an extra coating of protection to the user’s systems against cyber threats like phishing attacks by SMS and one-time password-based. In a report 9 to 5mac, there is confirmation that 95% of users are using passkeys. Also, with the passkeys, users’ experience will be better, and it is a more security-proof mechanism. The passwords were weak, reused credentials and credentials leaked, and the chances of phishing attacks were real.
What are passkeys?
Passkey is a digital key linked to users’ accounts and websites or applications. Passkeys allow the user to log into any application and website without entering passwords, usernames, or other details. The aim of this new feature is to replace the old long pattern of entering passwords for going through any websites and applications.
The passkeys are developed by Microsoft, Apple, and Google together, and it is also called FIDO Authentication (Fast identity online). It eliminates the need to remember passwords and the need for typing. So, the passkeys work as they replace the password with a unique digital key, which is tied to the account then, the key is stored in the device itself, and it is end-to-end encrypted. The passkeys will always be on the sites on which users specifically created them. the passkeys use the technology of cryptography for more security purposes. And the passkeys guarantee against the phish.
And since the passkeys follow FIDO standards so, this also can be used for third-party nonapple devices as the third-party device generate a QR code that enables the iOS user to scan that to log in. It will recognise the face of the person for authentication and then asks for permission on another device to deny or allow.
How are passkeys more secure than passwords?
The passkeys follow the public key cryptographic protocols that support the security keys, and they work against phishing and other cyber threats. It is more secure than SMS and apps based on one-time passwords. And another type of multi-factor authentication.
Why are passwords insecure?
The users create passwords easily, and it is wondering if they are secure. The very important passwords are short and easy to crack as they generally relate to the user’s personal information or popular words. One password is reused by the user to the different accounts, and then, in this case, hacking one account gives access to all accounts to the hackers. The problem is that passwords have inherent flaws, like they could be easily stolen.
Are passkeys about to become obligatory?
Many websites restrict the type of passwords, as some websites ask for mixtures of numbers and symbols, and many websites ask for two-factor authentication. There is no surety about the obligation of passkeys widespread as it is still a new concept and it will take time, so it is going to be optional for a while.
- There was a case of a Heartland payment system data breach, and Heartland was handling over 100 million monthly credit card transactions for 175,000 retailers at the time of the incident. Visa and MasterCard detected the hack in January 2009 when they notified Heartland of suspicious transactions. And this happened due to a password breach. The corporation paid an estimated $145 million in settlement for illegal payments. Today, data-driven breaches affect millions of people’s personal information.
- GoDaddy reported a security attack in November that affected the accounts of over a million of its WordPress customers. The attacker acquired unauthorised access to GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting environment by hacking into the provisioning system in the company’s legacy Managed WordPress code.
The use of strong and unique passwords is an essential requirement to safeguard information and data from cyberattacks, but still, passwords have its own disadvantages. And by the replacement of passwords, a passkey, a digital key that ensures proper safety and there is security against cyberattacks and cybercrimes through passkey. There are cases above-mentioned that happened due to the password’s weaker security. And in this technology world, there is a need for something for protection and prevention from cybercrimes, and the world dumps passwords and adopts passkeys.
Author : Himanshi Singh, Associate – Policy and Advocacy, CyberPeace