Apple, Google, Microsoft expand support for passwordless sign-ins

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In a bid to make the web more secure, Apple, Google and Microsoft on Thursday announced plans to expand support for a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium.

The new capability will allow websites and apps to offer consistent, secure, and easy passwordless sign-ins to consumers across devices and platforms.

“This new capability stands to usher in a new wave of low-friction FIDO implementations alongside the ongoing and growing utilization of security keys — giving service providers a full range of options for deploying modern, phishing-resistant authentication,” said Andrew Shikiar, executive director and CMO of the FIDO Alliance.

While password managers and legacy forms of two-factor authentication offer incremental improvements, there has been industry-wide collaboration to create sign-in technology that is more convenient and more secure.

The expanded standards-based capabilities will give websites and apps the ability to offer an end-to-end passwordless option.

“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,” said Kurt Knight, Apple’s Senior Director of Platform Product Marketing.

Users will sign in through the same action that they take multiple times each day to unlock their devices, such as a simple verification of their fingerprint or face, or a device PIN.

This new approach protects against phishing and sign-in will be radically more secure when compared to passwords and legacy multi-factor technologies such as one-time passcodes sent over SMS.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft have led development of this expanded set of capabilities and are now building support into their respective platforms.

The move allows users to automatically access their FIDO sign-in credentials (referred to by some as a “passkey”) on many of their devices, even new ones, without having to reenroll every account.

It will also enable users to use FIDO authentication on their mobile device to sign in to an app or website on a nearby device, regardless of the OS platform or browser they are running.

“This milestone is a testament to the collaborative work being done across the industry to increase protection and eliminate outdated password-based authentication,” said Mark Risher, Senior Director of Product Management, Google.

Alex Simons, Corporate Vice President, Identity Program Management at Microsoft, said that the complete shift to a passwordless world will begin with consumers making it a natural part of their lives.

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