Digital giants want to eliminate passwords – rts.ch

Google, Microsoft and Apple confirmed in May their intention to remove passwords to connect to online accounts on websites. This week, Apple unveiled the “Passkeys” that will equip its computers in the fall.

Apple unveiled the latest innovations earlier this week. More customized iPhones, text messages that can be changed, phones that can be cameras on computers or even paying in installments for its Apple Pay system.

Among these many announcements, there is a new technology of self-identification on the Internet, without a password. The app is called Passkeys, or Access code in French. It will be available on the new macOS Ventura operating system, which will be available in the fall. A technology that will ultimately have to equip all of its devices.

By surfing using the Safari browser, you can connect to a site, which integrates with technology, thanks to your smartphone placed near the computer. You will need to use biometrics to prove your identity.

Code at your fingertips

At Apple, it’s fingerprint (Touch ID) and facial recognition (Face ID). Tools that have been around for a long time. They are usually used to unlock the phone. Now, in theory, these physical characteristics should make it possible to connect to anything.

>> Video presentation of the technology during the WWDC 2022 developer conference

Finally, why about our passwords? This is easy for users. No need to memorize code or passwords that take longer and longer to avoid hacking.

The fight against piracy, precisely, is Apple’s strongest argument. Without a password, there is no more phishing to steal credentials. This new technology prevents you from sharing your access.

Critical data

The transmission of biometric data to a company is a sensitive issue. GAFAMs have a bad reputation in terms of personal data protection. Current conditions of use may not be in the future.

Apple claims that everything is crypt, that the access keys remain on the device and the company cannot read them. “Password Sign-in uses Touch ID or Face ID for biometric verification, and iCloud Keychain for syncing to Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV using end-to-end encryption,” reads the release from Apple.

But beware, there is zero risk in IT. If you change your password easily, things can get complicated on your face or fingerprints. Losing your phone can also be even more of a problem.

Over the next few years, the technology will also be put to the test by hackers around the world to find vulnerabilities. But digital giants are now presenting a common front to end the use of passwords.

A broad alliance

Google, Apple, Amazon, Meta (ex-Facebook), Samsung and Microsoft joined FIDO. Created in 2012, specifically with the online payment service system PayPal, this alliance aims to create the future without passwords.

FIDO is a new standard being set, such as Bluetooth or WiFi. You should be able to use it regardless of the brand of your device. Finally, your Apple phone should be able to unlock a website you’ve visited on a Windows computer, for example by scanning a QR code.

But passwords don’t disappear overnight. The path is long because the password is part of the web culture. Not everyone has a smartphone. And like all innovations, they can only make commercial sense if they are accepted by the public.

Pascal Wassmer

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