Android, iOS, and Windows OS users can expect to see seamless passwordless authentication across platforms and devices in the near future.
All three companies, as well as hundreds of others, already support FIDO Alliance standards. You may have already seen it in action. Certain websites send notifications to your phone, where you can enter your PIN or use your fingerprint scanner to log in.
However, the new announcements will bring in a few key changes.
‘Sign In on Chrome Using Your iPhone'
Previous implementations of passwordless authentication required users to sign in to each website or app with each device before they could use the passwordless functionality.
Microsoft, Apple, and Google are now working together to bring in two new capabilities for a more secure and seamless sign-in experience:
Users will be able to automatically access their FIDO sign-in credentials, or "passkey," on many of their devices, even new ones, without having to first enter your password.
They will be able to to use FIDO authentication on their mobile device to sign into an app or website on a nearby device, regardless of the OS platform or browser they are running.
Users, for example, can sign in on a Google Chrome browser that’s running on Microsoft Windows, using a passkey on an Apple device.
The passwordless login process will let users choose their phones as the main authentication device for apps, websites, and other digital services, Google said in a blogpost.
Simplicity and Security
The idea is to make log-ins simpler and more secure. Currently, it is a cumbersome process and many users tend to use the same password for different websites and services. This leaves them vulnerable to phishing.
“Just as we design our products to be intuitive and capable, we also design them to be private and secure,” said Kurt Knight, Apple’s Senior Director of Platform Product Marketing.
“Working with the industry to establish new, more secure sign-in methods that offer better protection and eliminate the vulnerabilities of passwords is central to our commitment to building products that offer maximum security and a transparent user experience,” he added.
“The complete shift to a passwordless world will begin with consumers making it a natural part of their lives. Any viable solution must be safer, easier, and faster than the passwords and legacy multi-factor authentication methods used today,” said Alex Simons, Corporate Vice President, Identity Program Management at Microsoft.
Cross-platform log-ins will be made possible by the FIDO standard, which uses cryptography to enable passwordless authentication. Your phone will store a passkey which will be used to unlock your online account – you’ll just need your phone nearby.