In a joint effort to make the web more secure and usable for all, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have announced plans to expand support for a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium.
The expanded standards-based capabilities will purportedly give websites and apps the ability to offer an end-to-end passwordless option. 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 is designed to protect 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.
An Expansion of Passwordless Standard Support
Hundreds of technology companies and service providers from around the world worked within the FIDO Alliance and W3C to create the passwordless sign-in standards that are already supported in billions of devices and all modern web browsers. Apple, Google, and Microsoft have led development of this expanded set of capabilities and are now building support into their respective platforms.
These companies’ platforms already support FIDO Alliance standards to enable passwordless sign-in on billions of industry-leading devices, but previous implementations require users to sign in to each website or app with each device before they can use passwordless functionality. Today’s announcement extends these platform implementations to give users two new capabilities for more seamless and secure passwordless sign-ins:
- Allow 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.
- 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.
In addition to facilitating a better user experience, the broad support of this standards-based approach will enable service providers to offer FIDO credentials without needing passwords as an alternative sign-in or account recovery method. These new capabilities are expected to become available across Apple, Google, and Microsoft platforms over the course of the coming year.