A few days ago, as the entire cybersecurity industry acknowledged World Password Day, many experts wondered how our lives would look without them. Lately, a lot many new forms of authentication are popping up which happen to be more reliable than passwords. These new authentication methods are also educating people by showing them how insecure and costly passwords are.
One of the major companies who are all in for these better authentication methods is Microsoft. They recently announced that the number of people who use its passwordless login solutions has now reached to a humongous 150 million from the previously reported figure of 100 million which was mentioned last November at the Microsoft Ignite conference.
In the year 2019, the Ponemon Institute released a report titled the ‘State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors’ wherein they found that almost 51% of 1,761 IT professional happened to reuse an average of five passwords in total across both business and personal accounts. Also, apart from that, it was discovered that nearly 70% of them shared their passwords with colleagues as well. This clearly shows how the entire concept of having a ‘password protection’ is so very vulnerable and doesn’t hold up if against most types of malicious attacks.
Joy Chick who is the Corporate Vice President of Identity at Microsoft, in a blog post, wrote that the complexity of a password is of no importance if it ends up in the hands of the wrong person. She also mentioned that malicious users, if they get hold of one singular password, can very well unlock the rest of our digital lives as well and therefore, a single password which has been compromised can thus create an entire chain reaction of liability.
Chick further wrote in the blog post that Microsoft’s IT team has been able to seamlessly adopt passwordless logins and that now 90% of their employees sign in without the use of any type of passwords at all. Therefore, as a result, the hard and soft costs of supporting passwords dropped by a whopping 87%.
She also mentioned how besides IT employees, general consumers are now becoming aware of authentication’s role in protecting their information as well but, at the same time, are not willing to take up a second multifactor authentication aka MFA layer.
This is primarily because any kind of second-factor authentication is always used in addition to passwords. That is why it is considered more secure. Consumers are finding it difficult to adopt it because they always have a hard enough time dealing with multiple passwords itself. Thus, for most consumers to add a second factor on top of passwords seems purely overwhelming.
Another problem that is making Passwordless security more acceptable is increasing the use of the latest technology by hackers worldwide. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and digitisation hackers are employing mind-boggling password hacking strategies nowadays. The increasing penetration of devices in people’s day to day life is also resulting in increasing threat to passwords keyed-in through a keyboard on laptop/computers or even smartphones.
That being said, on the flip side of things, many people who decided to try out passwordless authentication and learn about its advantages seem to be able to stick to it pretty well according to Chick.
Earlier this year, a Visa survey showed how 68% of US shoppers had to unwillingly leave an online purchase because they forgot a password or started having trouble logging in. Also, more than half (53%) of credit-card holders who participated in the survey said they would prefer switching banks if their current provider didn’t start facilitating biometric authentication options.
This shows that the world is certainly moving on very fast from the age wherein having a strong password was considered key to be secure on the internet. Now it remains to be seen how quickly can passwordless logins get adopted worldwide. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.