August 15, 2023

Anonybit Team

What Is Passwordless Technology? Types, Pros & Cons

Blog

In this blog, we will dive into the world of passwordless technology solutions. This innovative approach is transforming the security landscape, offering a more secure and user-friendly alternative to traditional passwords. The blog will explore the benefits of passwordless security, including increased protection against cyber threats, streamlined user experience, and reduced password-related risks. Dive into this blog to learn more about how passwordless technology can enhance your organization’s security posture while simplifying user authentication.

What Is Passwordless Technology?

bugs near phone - Passwordless Technology

We have been observing the evolution of passwordless technology for years. The advantages of adopting the new passwordless technology are manifold. To begin with, the use of passwordless technology eliminates the risk of phishing scams, a prevalent threat to the security of user data. The passwordless future eliminates the need for passwords altogether, fortifying the defense against online safety threats. In addition to making online activities more secure, passwordless technology improves user experience, strengthens security, and reduces IT operations expenses and complexity.

The passwordless technology eliminates the need for passwords altogether. The technology enables users to gain access to applications or IT systems without entering a password. Instead, users provide evidence in the form of a fingerprint, proximity badge, or hardware token code. Passwordless technology is typically used in conjunction with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Single Sign-On solutions to further enhance security.

Google and Microsoft have long recognized the issues associated with passwords. To mitigate these issues, they have created defenses such as 2-Step Verification and Google Password Manager. The long-term solution to password problems is to move beyond passwords altogether. Tech giants aim to see a future without passwords and use strong security technologies to prevent online safety threats.

The advantages of adopting passwordless technology are undeniable. It improves user experience, enhances security, and reduces IT operations expenses and complexity. In the long run, a passwordless future will make online activities more secure by eliminating the need for passwords. 

How Does Passwordless Technology Work?

detailed workings of Passwordless Technology

Passwordless authentication works by using something the user “has” or something the user “is” to verify their identity and give them system access to a website, application, or network. This would be in contrast to a traditional password login, which would be something the user “knows.”

Understanding Passwordless Authentication Methods

A passwordless login starts with the user going onto a device, entering a session, or opening an application and entering some type of identifiable information like their name, phone number, email address, or designated username. From there, they need to verify their identity by inserting something they “have” such as a hardware token, smart card, or fob, or clicking a link sent to a mobile device. If the identifiable information or registered device matches a given factor’s information in the authenticating database, they are given access permission.

Exploring Biometric Factors in Passwordless Authentication

Alternatively, they could use something the user “is,” which would be the equivalent of a biometric factor. So, when they try to enter a device or account on an application, they could be prompted to insert identifiable information in addition to voice recognition or a fingerprint, eye, or facial scan.

Exploring Biometric Factors in Passwordless Authentication

At Anonybit, we help companies prevent data breaches and account takeover fraud with our decentralized biometrics system design. With a decentralized biometrics solution, companies can enable passwordless login, wire verification, step-up authentication, and help desk authentication. We are on a mission to protect companies from data breaches, account takeover and synthetic identity fraud.

To achieve this goal, we offer security solutions such as:

  • Secure storage of biometrics and PII data
  • Support for the entire user lifecycle
  • 1:1 biometric authentication and 1:N biometric matching to prevent duplicates, synthetics and blocklisted identities 

Anonybit eliminates the tradeoffs between privacy and security. Prevent data breaches, enable strong authentication for eliminating account takeovers, and enhance the user experience across the enterprise using Anonybit.

Book a free demo today to learn more about our integrated identity management platform.

5 Common Types Of Passwordless Technology/Solutions

passcode on phone - Passwordless Technology

1. Biometrics

Biometric authentication offers the utmost convenience and security within the scope of passwordless authentication. Based on inherence factors that are unique, the user is granted access to a service or application. Also, due to its frictionless nature, including biometric authentication in passwordless ensures an impeccable user experience. An extended list of biometric authentication methods includes voiceprints, iris scans, fingerprint, and facial recognition.

2. Login on demand

To log into a service, the user would open an authenticator app on their mobile device using biometrics and choose the service they want to log in to. Identity checks are performed in the background, as well as access privileges dedicated to the users. If checks are passed, the user is granted access to the selected service. Similar to OTP, this method is vulnerable to SIM swaps.

3. Magic links

Instead of prompting the user to submit a password, magic links are based on the user’s email address. When logging into an application, the user must submit their email and click the magic link received in their email inbox. This method is potentially risky if an attacker takes over a person’s email account.

4. Push Notifications

When logging into an application, the user receives a Push Notification on their mobile device through an authenticator app. The user verifies their identity with an authentication method previously set up on the authenticator app and logs in to the wanted application. One consideration in this method is in the event of a SIM swap, the attacker will receive the push and will be able to authenticate. 

5. OTP (One-Time Passcodes)

A dynamically generated OTP using an authenticator app can also be used as a means of passwordless authentication. The user would access their authenticator app using biometrics and generate an OTP within the app. Upon receiving the One-Time Passcode, the user would use it to log in to the wanted service. The drawback of this method is that the OTPs are phishable.

What Are The Benefits Of Passwordless Solutions?

woman picking up sticky notes - Passwordless Technology

Passwordless authentication has many benefits for businesses. Some of the pros of a system without passwords include the following

Users Don’t Have to Remember Passwords

Users are often under pressure to remember complex passwords and make sure they have access to multiple devices to complete their authentication procedures. If you can simplify the authentication process for your employees and stakeholders, you’re streamlining the entire experience. Overly complex authentication can cause employees to take shortcuts, such as writing down complicated login details, which impacts your overall security framework.

One-touch passwordless biometrics eliminates the need for multiple complex passwords. All your team needs is a fingerprint — which hackers would have trouble replicating — to grant them authorized access. 

Increase in Cyber Hygiene

Despite the dangers, password duplication is common. If a duplicated password comes into a hacker’s possession, they can access various accounts automatically. Removing password-based authentication from your process eliminates the risk of duplication. Passwordless authentication also eliminates the chances of becoming a victim of a brute-force attack — making multiple attempts to guess a user’s password.

If a password gets leaked, the damage can be catastrophic. A robust passwordless solution strengthens your business’s cyber security profile, as only legitimate employees with access can log in to your networks, systems and applications.

Cost Reductions

Over time, passwordless authentication can reduce your security costs. There’s no need to spend extra money on password storage and management solutions or password resets. Your IT support teams can focus on meaningful work, instead of resetting forgotten passwords and trying to detect and prevent password leaks and brute-force attempts. 

Reduced Risk of Password Theft

Password breaches can cause massive data and financial losses, and keeping passwords safe across your organization is a significant undertaking. As passwords are eliminated from your authorization process, your business doesn’t need to worry about breaches resulting from password theft. 

Improved Stakeholder and Employee Relationships

Your stakeholders, employees and customers trust you to protect their sensitive information. As passwordless authentication eliminates several considerable cybersecurity risks, it provides your stakeholders peace of mind and fosters trusting relationships, ultimately helping your company maintain a competitive position.

Disadvantages Of Using Passwordless Solutions

woman trying to learn about Passwordless Technology

Not all Software & Devices are Compatible

While many are, not all software and devices support passwordless login. You’ll need to make sure your company’s software and devices are compatible with the specific passwordless authentication solution you choose prior to installing. 

Additional User Education Required

Though it has become increasingly common along consumer products, your employees may not be familiar with passwordless login. These solutions do require some additional training on how to use them, which takes time.

Complex Implementation

Implementing passwordless authentication requires a significant shift in mindset and a complete overhaul of security plans, which can be complex and challenging for organizations. Employees need to be trained on the new system, and resistance to change may be encountered.

Increased Deployment & CapEx Implementation Costs

While passwordless authentication can lead to cost savings in the long run, the initial deployment costs can be substantial. Hardware-based systems like token authentication may require a capital investment, and development costs could also be a factor.

Increased Troubleshooting Difficulty

For hardware and token-based passwordless systems, troubleshooting can be costly. Users could lose their hardware or devices, and your support team will have to find an alternative method of giving them access.

Delayed User Adoption and Suspicion

Throughout history, people have always met innovations with suspicion. Most people are comfortable with password-based options and use MFA and other tools to provide an additional layer of security. While passwordless possibilities are convenient in many ways, they need to be more familiar, making users suspicious and fearful. Some members of your team will be resistant to change than others.

Keeping the passwordless process hassle-free is an excellent strategy to promote better adoption rates. Your team will likely accept such a fundamental change if it disrupts their workflow as little as possible.

4 Leading Passwordless Authentication Solutions

woman testing out Passwordless Technology

Anonybit

At Anonybit, we help companies prevent data breaches and account takeover fraud with our decentralized biometrics system design. With a decentralized biometrics solution, companies can enable passwordless login, wire verification, step-up authentication, and help desk authentication. We are on a mission to protect companies from data breaches, account takeover and synthetic identity fraud. Anonybit acts as a Biometric IdP (Identity Provider) and interfaces with identity and access management platforms like some of the ones listed below which are responsible for orchestrating the user journey.

To achieve our goal, we offer security solutions such as:

  • Secure storage of biometrics and PII data
  • Support for the entire user lifecycle
  • 1:1 biometric authentication and 1:N biometric matching to prevent duplicates, synthetics and blocklisted identities 

Anonybit eliminates the tradeoffs between privacy and security. Prevent data breaches, enable strong authentication for eliminating account takeovers, and enhance the user experience across the enterprise using Anonybit.

Book a free demo today to learn more about our integrated identity management platform.

1. Okta, Ping, Microsoft Entra ID

Okta is an identity and access management (IAM) platform that offers a range of solutions for workforce and customer authentication. It provides passwordless authentication options, including FIDO2 biometrics, smart cards, and mobile apps. Okta integrates with over 1,000 third-party providers for single sign-on (SSO), lifecycle management, and more.

The platform is known for its user-friendly interface, robust security features, and scalability. Okta’s passwordless authentication options enhance security and user experience by eliminating the need for passwords and offering more secure authentication methods. The platform is widely used by organizations to manage user identities, secure access to applications, and streamline authentication processes.

Similarly, Microsoft Entra ID is a workforce IAM solution designed for Microsoft cloud environments. It offers passwordless authentication options such as FIDO2 biometrics, Windows Hello for Business, and the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app.

Microsoft Entra ID provides a seamless and secure authentication experience for users within the Microsoft ecosystem.

The platform integrates with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to provide single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and other identity and access management features. Microsoft Entra ID is known for its strong security measures, ease of use, and compatibility with Microsoft products and services.

The third one in this class, Ping Identity is also an IAM solution that offers workforce and customer authentication services. It provides passwordless authentication options, starting at $6 per user per month. Ping Identity supports FIDO2 biometrics, mobile apps, and integrates with over 1,800 third-party providers.

The platform is known for its robust security features, scalability, and flexibility. Ping Identity helps organizations secure access to applications, protect user identities, and streamline authentication processes. The platform’s passwordless authentication capabilities enhance security and user experience by providing secure and efficient authentication methods.

While Okta, Microsoft and Ping offer a great approach to passwordless authentication, Anonybit offers a better approach by focusing on “Privacy by Design” in our passwordless authentication solution.

Unlike traditional biometric systems that store sensitive biometrics on centralized servers, Anonybit takes a different approach, ensuring privacy and security by sharding biometric data into anonymized forms to protect against data breaches while still enabling passwordless authentication

2. Cisco Duo

Cisco Duo is an IAM solution that offers passwordless authentication options for workforce security. It supports FIDO2 biometrics, mobile apps, and integrates with over 100 pre-built integrations. Cisco Duo provides a comprehensive set of security features, including multi-factor authentication, device trust, and secure access controls.

The platform is trusted by organizations to protect against security threats, secure remote access, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

However, Cisco Duo’s authentication ultimately fall back on a password somewhere along the user journey. With Anonybit, the gap is closed. Store the backup PassKey or token in our decentralized data vault and associate it with the user’s biometric, simplifying the recovery process and ensuring no account takeover of digital wallets can occur.

3. YubiKeys

YubiKeys are hardware authentication devices manufactured by Yubico to enhance security by providing a second factor for authentication on various online services.

These devices support one-time passwords (OTP), public-key cryptography, and authentication through protocols like Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) and FIDO2. YubiKeys allows users to securely log into their accounts by emitting one-time passwords or using public/private key pairs generated by the device.

They can also store static passwords for sites that do not support one-time passwords. These devices implement various authentication protocols, including OTPs, FIDO protocols, public-key encryption, and support near-field communication for Android phones.

But since YubiKeys are unique physical devices, losing or damaging the key can lock you out of all accounts secured by that key.

Should Your Organization Use Passwordless Authentication Technology?

team happy to work with Passwordless Technology

Passwords are a ubiquitous part of our digital lives, but they are inherently insecure. People often reuse the same password across multiple sites, and if one of these sites is compromised, cybercriminals can use automation tools to try that password on other sites. Many people create passwords that are easy to remember, such as “123456” or “password,” making them easy to guess. For these reasons, passwords are the most common way that cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to your account. 

Credential Stuffing Attacks

When cybercriminals gain access to a database of usernames and passwords, they can use a tactic called credential stuffing. This involves taking those username and password pairs and trying them against a range of popular websites, such as banking or e-commerce sites. If people reuse their passwords, cybercriminals can gain unauthorized access to those accounts. 

Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals often use phishing attacks to steal your login credentials. In these attacks, cybercriminals send you an email pretending to be from a legitimate company, such as a bank or an online retailer. The email might say your account has been compromised and you need to log in to fix the problem. If you click on the link in the email and enter your username and password, the cybercriminals gain access to your account. 

Securing Accounts With Passwordless Authentication 

One way to secure your accounts against these threats is to use passwordless authentication. Passwordless technology eliminates the need for a password. Instead, you rely on something you have, such as your mobile phone, or something you are, such as your fingerprint or selfie, to log in. These methods are more secure because they are harder to guess and can’t be reused on other sites. Passwords are static, while biometrics are unique to each individual. 

Passwordless Technology

Organizations are starting to adopt passwordless technology as a way to reduce their risk of a cyberattack. This technology uses a range of methods to verify your identity without a password. The most secure method is a biometric. Organizations can use a single method or a combination of methods depending on their needs. 

Benefits of Passwordless Authentication

Passwordless technology can help protect against various types of cyberattacks. For example, it can help protect against credential stuffing attacks because there are no passwords to steal. It can also help protect against phishing attacks because cybercriminals can’t steal a password that doesn’t exist. True passwordless technology that uses biometrics and doesn’t rely on codes/pins can help protect against man-in-the-middle attacks because there is no password to intercept. 

Enhancing Security with Passwordless Technology

Passwordless technology offers a way to improve your security posture online. It eliminates the need for passwords, which are vulnerable to a range of cyberattacks, such as credential stuffing and phishing attacks. Organizations are turning to passwordless technology as a way to secure their accounts and protect their users from cybercriminals.

Book A Free Demo To Learn More About Our Integrated Identity Management Platform

At Anonybit, we help companies prevent data breaches and account takeover fraud with our decentralized biometrics technology. With our decentralized biometrics framework, companies can enable passwordless login, wire verification, step-up authentication, help desk authentication and more. 

Comprehensive Security Solutions for Companies

We are on a mission to protect companies from data breaches, account takeovers and synthetic identity on the rise, privacy regulations, and digital transformation. To achieve this goal, we offer security solutions such as:

  • Secure storage of biometrics and PII data
  • Support for the entire user lifecycle
  • 1:1 passwordless authentication and 1:N matching for lookups and deduplication

Balancing Privacy and Security with Anonybit’s Integrated Platform

Anonybit eliminates the tradeoffs between privacy and security. Prevent data breaches, reduce account takeover fraud, and enhance the user experience across the enterprise using Anonybit. Book a free demo today to learn more about our integrated identity management platform.

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