Less than six months ago, Google announced the launch of support for “passkeys” to replace passwords for the personal accounts of its billions of users. As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the company has now taken a step further and made passkeys the default login setting for all users.
A passkey is a technology that allows a user to log in to a website, device, or application without using a username and password. Instead, it uses an already-authenticated personal device to log the user in.
To put it simply, a passkey is a digital key that allows access to your account without requiring you to remember a password. It provides enhanced security compared to traditional passwords, as it uses public-key cryptography to authenticate your access to websites and applications.
Think it sounds too complicated? It may surprise you to learn that if you use your thumb or face to access your iPhone, you are already using a passkey.
Passwords are widely used for security purposes but have inherent vulnerabilities as they can be easily guessed and stolen. Furthermore, keeping track of numerous passwords is challenging, forcing users to reuse the same passwords on multiple accounts frequently. This practice makes it easier for attackers to gain access to all the accounts at once, posing a significant threat to data security.
Passkeys are a highly effective security measure that combats the pervasive problem of phishing attacks. Passkeys work by managing cryptographic keys on your devices, providing a secure and reliable method for account authentication. By eliminating the need for traditional passwords, passkeys offer a more advanced and convenient solution that significantly reduces the risk of cyber threats.
“Earlier this year, we rolled out support for passkeys, a simpler and more secure way to sign into your accounts online. We’ve received really positive feedback from our users, so today, we’re making passkeys even more accessible by offering them as the default option across personal Google Accounts.” MORE FROM GOOGLE
Google has not disclosed any numbers on the adoption of passkeys till now. Instead, the company mentioned that users have been utilizing passkeys on their preferred apps, such as YouTube, Search, and Maps, and the results have been promising. Additionally, the company noted that passkey support is being extended to other apps and services. Apple and Microsoft have also implemented passkeys, and Uber and eBay have recently introduced them, with WhatsApp planning to launch them soon.
Passkey is quicker and easier.
In addition to being safer, Google points out that they are quicker and easier to use than the traditional username and password approach.
“To use passkeys, you just use a fingerprint, face scan, or pin to unlock your device, and they are 40% faster than passwords — and rely on a type of cryptography that makes them more secure. But while they’re a big step forward, we know that new technologies take time to catch on — so passwords may be around for a little while. That’s why people will still be given the option to use a password to sign in and may opt-out of passkeys by turning off “Skip password when possible.”
There is good news if you are not convinced about the idea of passkeys. The traditional username and password method will not soon be replaced. It will take some time for passkeys to become popular. Google will continue to support both options for now. Additionally, users who choose to use passkeys will still have the option to use their traditional password while the transition to passkeys is taking place. This move is aimed at encouraging more users to adopt the new passkey system.
Are you worried about the safety and security of your organization? Commonwealth Sentinel can help you reduce risks and ensure the well-being of everyone involved.
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