Google Passkey: What it is & how it works
Here’s the crux of the article in video form:
For years, humans have used passwords for various purposes, be it for withdrawing cash or securing accounts online. While passwords are good, online threats like phishing attacks and scams are on the rise.
Adding to the problem, we humans are not good with passwords, with many using the same password for several services. While authentication protocols like 2FA do help to some extent, the chance of your password leaking online is always there.
That said, on this year’s World Password day, Google announced the arrival of the passwordless era. Joined by Apple and Microsoft, the three OS developers said they will soon be extending their support to the standard set by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium.
Known as ‘passkey’, users will need to have their phone by their side if they want to log in to a service. Google Passkey completely eliminates the need of typing and remembering complex passwords and requires users to just unlock their device.
The new Google Passkey works simply by unlocking and authenticating your mobile using a fingerprint or pin. While some 2FA systems work over the internet, the new FIDO scheme uses Bluetooth to verify physical proximity, with the actual sign-in process not using the technology due to several security challenges.
So, how does Google Passkey work?
Google Passkey will use your Android phone to store a ‘passkey’ that will be used to unlock your online accounts in Chrome. What it means is that instead of users requiring a password to sign in to a website, they’ll have to simply take out their phone and unlock it.
Since it is based on public-key cryptography, it is more secure in general and also has the ability to sync to the cloud and transfer when you get a new phone or lose your existing one.
Like passwords, passkeys will be needed only the first time you log in to a website. Google said passkeys will be compatible with devices running Android 9 or above, with Play Services already readying support for the technology.
That said, it will surely take some time for Google Passkey to be available on every device and website. According to FIDO, the passwordless system will be available across Apple, Microsoft, and Google platforms in the coming year.
Note: We have more such stories in our dedicated Google Section so be sure to follow them as well.
Featured image source: Google Blog
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