What Are Passkeys & Why You Should Use Them?

Posted by iCoverLover on Dec 27, 2022

The tech industry is growing rapidly as different features for security are being developed. One of the features that are being contemplated is the passkey. 

The Fido Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a safer and more secure digital environment by developing open standards and protocols for authentication, such as the Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) and the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol, which are now supported by the Google Play Service Beta App and are expected to be stable later. The world is now on the brink of a new era of mobile technology, as the Google Play Service Beta App has enabled support for the latest cutting-edge protocols, which are expected to bring a new level of convenience and efficiency to the world of mobile communication.

However, Android users won't be the only ones to enjoy this feature. Apple also mentioned at the WWDC event that they are collaborating with some industry partners like Google and Microsoft for the development of this security pack. According to them, the passkey is supported by IOS 16 and iPadOS 16. After all this news about passkeys, it is only right if you know what they truly are. 

What are passkeys?

Passkeys are new digital login credentials that are tied to an application, website, or user's account, eliminating the need for passwords for online authentication. The passkey feature is said to be a new-generation credential that is more secure and easy to use, unlike passwords. 

This credential literally uses the '"cryptographic technique"- this is a type of technology that uses code to secure information to ensure that only those people whom the information is meant for would be able to access it.

Face identification on a smartphone

Basically, the passkey leverages the use of your biometrics, such as touch ID, face ID and fingerprint. They are end-to-end encryptions that no industry, hacker, or government can have access to except you. 

Moving forward, passkeys are based on WebAuthn (Web authentication API). They are authentication keys that work for the site it was created for, and they are not stored on the web but on the phone or any other device. 

What are the advantages of passkey?

Even though the web authentication API isn't a new project but will be fully launched soon, there are quite a several advantages of passkey. For example, one of the advantages of passkey is that it allows users to securely store and access their passwords and other sensitive information, making it easier to manage their accounts and stay secure online. Let's see some more pros.

You don't have to worry about forgetting 

We are sure you've been in a situation where you forgot the password you used to create an account. And because of that, you've to go through the "forgot password" process, which means you'll have to set a new password. 

However, that's different with passkeys. You don't have to type or worry about forgetting your password to enter apps. This is because you'd be using your biometrics, such as fingerprints. 

Fingerprint unlock on a mobile device

Also, your private key is stored on your phone or other connected devices, which is retrieved automatically when you need it. Likewise, your public key is stored on the website, so you don't have to type it. 

They are a strong defence against online attacks

Since WebAuthn is new, hackers will look for another way out to try to access accounts that are meant for only you. They will do that by establishing supposedly credible websites to lure you into providing your credentials. 

But WebAuthn would ensure you to make sure you don't share your credentials with untrusted sites. 

WebAuthn is a secure authentication protocol that allows users to authenticate with their devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, without relying on passwords or other credentials, and is supported by most modern operating systems. 

Currently, online attackers are relying on getting access to your accounts by stealing/guessing your password. Phishing is a type of cyber attack that attempts to trick users into providing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, by masquerading as a legitimate source, such as a trusted website or a trusted person, in order to gain access to laptops, smartphones, and tablets, without relying on passwords or other credentials, and is a major security concern for users of all modern operating systems. 

Setting a new password on a mobile device

Updates are an important part of maintaining security, as they help to ensure that users have the latest patches and security features installed, which can help to mitigate the risk of relying on passwords or other credentials and can help to protect users from the latest threats.

All passkeys are strong 

Unlike the way you have to worry about creating a strong password or avoid creating a password that's too short, the passkey doesn't have to be created manually. Both the public and private passkey are created by your authenticator. 

Many platforms, such as smartphones and computers, offer authenticator applications that automatically generate public and private passkey, making it easier for users to securely access their accounts.

By generating both the public and private passkey automatically, users can securely access their accounts with the assurance that their data is protected and encrypted, as the passkey is generated using a secure algorithm that ensures the data is kept safe and secure.

Final Verdict 

Passkeys are features that are being formulated to eliminate the use of passwords. This would reduce the number of online attacks by criminals. Also, it would make the creation of online accounts easier for users. By utilising authorisation protocols, online attacks by criminals can be minimised and the process of creating online accounts for users can be made simpler and more secure.