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Apple, Google, and Microsoft Announce Their Commitment to Expand Standard-Based Passwordless Sign-Ins

Today, Apple, Google, and Microsoft committed to expand the use of passwordless sign-in technology developed by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. The companies say that the standard will ‘offer consistent, secure, and easy passwordless sign-ins to consumers across devices and platforms.’

If this rings a bell, it’s because the passwordless technology announced today was first covered by Apple at WWDC 2021 when the company released a technology preview to developers to start implementing the tech into their apps and websites. The goal of passwordless sign-ins is to make sign-ins more convenient and secure by eliminating password management. Instead of passwords, sign-ins for apps and websites will happen through face, fingerprint, or device PIN authentication and eliminate the need for the use of one-time passcodes over SMS.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft already have FIDO Alliance standards built into their devices, but with the expansion announced today, the system will make authentication easier for users. According to the companies’ joint press release:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.

Kurt Knight, Apple’s Senior Director of Platform Product Marketing, said of the joint effort:

Just as we design our products to be intuitive and capable, we also design them to be private and secure. 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 — all with the goal of keeping users’ personal information safe.

With the number of devices in our lives today and the use of multiple platforms by many people, those two changes should go a long way to making passwordless sign-ins easier to use. As good as password management apps and OS-level tools have become, juggling passwords for hundreds of websites and apps is a burden on consumers, which often leads to password reuse and other insecure practices. The FIDO Alliance’s standard promises to change that, and with Apple, Google, and Microsoft on board, the likelihood that we will see a more secure, passwordless future is better than ever.

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