Hanko 101
8 Min.

Passport to Passwordless!

A password-free future is here

Digital passwords were first deployed in 1961 to allow the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) – an operating system introduced at MIT – to accommodate multiple users at once. At the time, the solution was simple and threats were few. Passwords provided, for the first time, a secured and personalized point-of-entry into a computer system. 

Since then, much has changed. Today, not only have the number of platforms that require personal entry points multiplied, threats have grown exponentially. The result? Dozens of combinations, both simple and complex, in need of remembering and protecting. Passwords can be seen these days as a hacker's delight. 

‘Strong’ and ‘weak’ passwords alike have grown increasingly vulnerable over time. Threats that never could have been imagined by the team behind CTSS at MIT have emerged and put countless pieces of sensitive data at risk. Through the development of phishing scams, malware (malicious software), and other tools from ever more sophisticated hacker generations, passwords can be stolen en masse, providing fraudulent access to platforms presumed secure.

What if logins could be secured, but still grant fast and easy access for everyone, everywhere – without the need for additional authentication steps or special hardware tokens, cumbersome one-time codes, or other rather complex multi-factor authentication methods. This is now possible. Enter a passwordless future. 

Going passwordless, as a community

It is true that users have become accustomed to the password + username access system. However, just because you’re used to something doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Passwords have come to represent not only the headaches mentioned above but also weak points in our data protection. 

Since 2012 numerous tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla, have been working together to map out standards that will enable a ‘passwordless’ future in response. From this collaboration, FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) was born – a set of standards based on the three core ideals of ease of use, privacy and security, and standardization. To further ease adoption, passwordless foundations have been integrated into the most recent versions of all major internet browsers as well as computer and smartphone operating systems. 

The world’s most influential companies are preparing for this shift with capabilities to provide secure access to platforms without relying on passwords. Alternative access and authentication methods such as biometrics, magic links, push notifications, and so on are revolutionizing access points, all without app, function, or device limitation. These features are gaining widespread acceptance, making accessing information and even payments more secure and easier to use than ever before. 

The technological framework designed for biometric authentication and a truly ‘passwordless’ future has been developed. Hanko facilitates access to this framework for platform-agnostic identity authentication. Benefits are boundless when users are freed from access nightmares. 

Is now is the right time to ditch Passwords? (Spoiler alert: yes!)

A recent study from Verizon showed that a majority of hacking takes advantage of weak or guessable passwords. We are on the precipice of a new standard for secure online authentication, without a need for special hardware or reliance on external services.   

Passwords are susceptible to being stolen or extracted using various methods like malware and phishing. Yet, there are still naysayers doing away with what we have grown comfortable with and moving towards a more secure and passwordless future. Arguments against eliminating passwords tend to relate to complexity on the tech side, user experience, and security. They’re valid concerns that have been addressed by innovative companies like Hanko, making passwordless authentication a frictionless component of any access point. Not to mention, the benefits far outweigh the costs. For example, passwords not only add barriers to use, but they also are common pockets for security breaches. Without them, the end-to-end experience is improved.

Passwordless from the user’s point of view

Users are already accustomed to unlocking their phones and other devices with biometrics. The adoption has been a huge success (almost 90% adoption rate), due to the smooth user experience and the enhanced security, biometrics have been a welcomed change for most users. 

Further to security is convenience. 75% of Americans say they struggle with password management. This is a strong signal that users will come to expect seamless experiences as they’re freed from cumbersome passwords. Passwordless solutions offer a superior experience for users overall. They are more secure and convenient and the privacy and protection of data is guaranteed. 

Implementing a passwordless solution via Hanko comes with a straightforward interface that supports authentication flows with a clean and user-friendly design in mind. These technologies work with biometric authentications mentioned above, meaning your users don't need new equipment or to change their habits.

Passwordless from the developer’s & designer’s point of view

Encrypted logins using technologies like Touch ID or Face ID mean not only more peace of mind for end-users without over-burdening them with information, it also enables decentralized, secure user authentication, reducing the chance of costly and embarrassing data breaches that compromise customer data and damage brands. 

Ditching passwords also benefits product owners and development teams. Designing and Implementing strong authentication methods with the right partner reduces the work involved in coding, testing, and debugging products or platforms. As a FIDO-certified company, Hanko provides easy-to-use APIs, demo code, model implementations, best practices, and detailed instructions to ease implementation and running the system.

Specifically, FIDO protocols provide the strongest authentication possible through proven public key cryptography techniques. By working with certified FIDO providers, developers don’t need to worry about security, complexity, or server space, it is all done by the provider.

Passwordless authentication by Hanko streamlines roadmaps and lowers maintenance overheads for product teams. The possibilities offered by this technology also provide unique, fluid ways for users to interact. Removing friction points that disrupt the user journey.

Building a Passwordless Product with Hanko

The time to implement passwordless authentication is now. To help accelerate the adoption of passwordless logins by tech companies, Hanko has created an easy-to-implement Authentication-as-a-Service API solution. By using the simple API and ready-made SDKs, product teams can forgo complicated installs and arduous certifications that may be required. Hanko customers already include international software and cloud providers, the public sector, and companies from the financial and healthcare sectors, all of whom place huge importance on security and compliance with relevant data-protection standards. Highly scalable and FIDO-certified, Hanko comes equipped with the widely recognized and standardized mark of trust.

Why not contact us for a product tour, or check out our developer documentation?

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