Adopting Strong Passwordless Authentication by Using a FIDO Security Key

March 6, 2023

Password-based authentication has been the most commonly used method to secure our online accounts. However, it's time to move towards a stronger and more secure authentication method, and that is by adopting passwordless authentication through the use of FIDO security keys.

What Is FIDO?

FIDO stands for Fast Identity Online, and it's an open standard for passwordless authentication. The FIDO Alliance, a non-profit organization, developed this standard to address the limitations of traditional password-based authentication. FIDO uses public key cryptography authentication to verify user identity, making it more secure and convenient.

Why Passwordless Authentication?

Passwords have always been vulnerable to hacking, and most people don't follow the recommended password best practices, such as using a unique and complex password for each account. Password reuse and weak passwords make it easier for attackers to gain access to multiple accounts. Additionally, passwords can be stolen or guessed, making them an unreliable authentication method.

Passwordless authentication, on the other hand, eliminates the need for passwords, making it more secure and convenient. Passwordless authentication is based on a unique identifier, such as a FIDO key, that the user possesses. The user must physically possess the FIDO key to authenticate, making it more secure than passwords.

What Is a FIDO key?

A FIDO key is a physical device that you can use for passwordless authentication. It's a small USB or NFC device that you plug into your computer or mobile device, and it uses public key cryptography to authenticate you. When you log in to a website or application, you insert the FIDO key, and it creates a unique digital signature that verifies your identity.

How Does FIDO Authentication Work?

FIDO authentication works by using standard public key cryptography protocols. When you set up a FIDO key, your device generates a public and private key pair. The private key is stored securely on the FIDO key, while the public key is sent to the FIDO server.

When you want to authenticate, you insert the FIDO key, and the server sends a challenge to your device. The FIDO key uses the private key to create a digital signature for the challenge, which is sent back to the server. The server then verifies the signature using the public key and grants access if the signature is valid.

Benefits of FIDO Authentication

FIDO authentication offers several benefits over traditional password-based authentication:

  1. More Secure: FIDO authentication is based on public key cryptography, which is more secure than passwords. Additionally, FIDO keys are physical devices that must be in your possession to authenticate, making it more difficult for attackers to gain access to your accounts.
  2. Convenient: FIDO authentication is more convenient than passwords, as you don't have to remember complex passwords or change them frequently. FIDO keys are easy to use and can be used on multiple devices.
  3. Cost-effective: FIDO keys are affordable and can be used for several years. They are more cost-effective than other authentication methods, such as SMS or biometric authentication.

FIDO authentication is the future of online security. It's more secure, convenient, and cost-effective than traditional password-based authentication. By adopting FIDO authentication using a FIDO security key, you can secure your online accounts and protect your sensitive information from unauthorized access.