The three tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft will work to introduce a common standard for passwordless logins. They announced the FIDO Alliance on Thursday.
The FIDO Alliance is behind so-called FIDO authentication, which in practice replaces the need for passwords with other forms of authentication – such as fingerprints, facial recognition or even voice recognition.
Apple, Google and Microsoft platforms already support the FIDO Alliance standard to some extent. However, today you often have to sign in to different services in the usual way and on each device before you can switch to passwordless sign-in to services that support it.
What companies are actually reporting is deeper support for the FIDO standard, which in practice means you should be able to use passwordless login on websites, services, and in apps automatically – without having to set it up in the service first.
Authentication is done, for example, via your mobile phone, which, after confirming that you are who you say you are, sends a “passkey” or access key to the relevant service and grants you access.
For example, you can log in to your Gmail account on a Windows-based PC using facial recognition on an iPhone without having to have a password in the background.
To log into a website on your PC, all you need to do is have your phone nearby and you will be asked to unlock it to gain access. Once you have done this, you no longer need the phone and can log in simply by unlocking the PC. Even if you lose your phone, the access keys are securely synced to your phone via a cloud backup, so you can pick up right where you left off with the old device, Google writes in a blog post about the case.