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It is more important than ever to protect your data in this day and age. One way to do that is by using passwordless authentication. This method improves security by eliminating the need for passwords. This blog post will discuss how passwordless authentication works and its benefits.

What is Passwordless Authentication?

Passwordless authentication is a form of 2-Factor Authentication that does not require any passwords. Instead, this type of authentication utilizes something you have (like your phone) to give users access to data or applications without remembering another password.

The key to understanding passwordless authentication is the idea of something you have and something you know. The “something you know” part is a traditional user name and password combo. The “something you have” component is the mobile device that generates a one-time use code or pushes notification. This way, even if passwords are compromised. Attackers would still need something like your phone to access certain data or applications.

How Does Passwordless Authentication Work?

There are a few different methods that one can use in passwordless authentication. One of the most well-known is receiving a code via text message or push notification. It happens when logging into apps and services from your mobile device. In this scenario, an app or service sends you a unique login code to use each time you log in. The idea is that only someone with physical access to your phone would be able to get this code. It also means that if a hacker were to find out your login credentials, they would not be able to access your data. However, they can do it unless they also had physical access to your mobile device.

Another common way of doing passwordless authentication is using a physical Security Key. A Security Key generates a login code that only works once and never again for as long as you have it activated. Think of these devices like a USB stick that only provides access one time. This, in turn, means that if your Security Key is lost or stolen, only the one-time use code will be compromised. It also means that you do not have to worry about receiving codes via text message or push notification. That leaves your data and accounts more secure because hackers would need something like your phone to access certain data or applications.

Benefits of Passwordless Authentication

There are many benefits to using passwordless authentication over traditional logins. Some of the most notable include:

Higher Security

No additional data like usernames and passwords are necessary when using a Security Key. Because of this, your account can not be hacked unless someone has physical access to both the key and your phone. This means that if a hacker could find out your password, they would still need something like your phone or Security Key to access certain data or applications.

Faster Entry Into Apps and Services

Passwordless authentication reduces the amount of time spent on login while also simplifying the process. This means that it is easier to access apps and services while, at the same time, you are less exposed to attacks. It also means that you are not bogged down with time-consuming processes, which can get frustrating if your password is long and complex.

No Password Management

Passwordless authentication eliminates the need for users to manage their passwords. This includes remembering them, updating them, creating new ones, or resetting old ones. This simplifies the process while at the same time making it easier to access apps and services. You are also less likely to reuse passwords or have your accounts hacked because traditional passwords are not used when logging in.

Lower Support Costs

Passwords are complicated things that are difficult for many people to remember, especially if they are long and complex. Passwordless authentication eliminates this problem since users can log in without remembering a password at all. This reduces the amount of time spent on support tickets for forgotten passwords, which saves everyone money. In turn, this authentication creates a better overall experience for both the user and the company.

More Convenient

Passwordless authentication is a great way to cut down on the number of times a day you log into accounts from your mobile device. If you have a Security Key, this means that you do not have to carry it around with you all of the time while still being able to keep your accounts secure. Also, if you receive a login code via text message or push notification, you do not have to type it in each time manually.

Seamless Experience

Using the authentication makes for a better overall experience because it simply just works. This means that you can log in without worrying about remembering passwords, resetting them, creating new ones, or anything else of the sort. You log in and get on with your day while at the same time keeping your accounts secure. The user has a better experience, resulting in happier users and more referrals.

Threats Associated With Passwordless Authentication

However, passwordless authentication is not without its own set of potential threats. Some of the most notable include:

Sharing Factor

Login with a Security Key eliminates the need for usernames and passwords. It also means that you are sharing something one can use to access an account if lost or stolen. If this device (such as a Security Key ) falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to access your accounts without you knowing about it. The severity of this depends on how much access the device provides.

Phishing Attacks

Similar to traditional phishing attacks that use emails or messages, hackers can send you messages with links to malicious websites designed to steal your data. If you are not paying attention, this information can be collected if caught by a Security Key. This would then compromise your accounts as well as any other data shared.

SMS and Push Notification Spoofing

If you receive an SMS or push notification with a login code, this also means that you are sharing something that one can use to access an account if lost or stolen. If this code is intercepted through spoofing, it could be used to gain access to your account. This is why it is important only to use the login codes you receive rather than sharing them with others or saving them later, like passwords.

Security Misconfigurations

One of the biggest problems with using passwords and usernames is that it involves sharing information, leading to security misconfigurations. This means that you might trust a website more than you should because it looks legitimate or allows access even though you do not recognize it. The authentication is also susceptible to this since hackers could impersonate a legitimate login page to trick you into entering your data.

Lower Security Clearance

Remember that there are still different security clearances that determine the type of access allowed. This means that with such authentication, you have an increased risk of granting lower-level users access to accounts they should not have since they do not have passwords. Administrators of the system would still be able to gain access. However, they may not know which accounts were accidentally compromised.

Mobile Capabilities

Passwordless authentication can usually only be done from a mobile device since it requires texts or pushes notifications. This means that you cannot do it from a desktop computer. You also need to use another device such as a laptop if you need to do so. If you receive a login code on your phone and want to use it on your laptop, this means that you can grant access and then revoke it. This would mean creating another session in the account, which requires authentication. Alternatively, you could use a passwordless authentication app like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator. This would allow for multi-factor authentication, and the code generator would work on both devices.

Multiple Accounts and Device Requirements

If you have multiple accounts, this means that you will need to use multiple devices to log in without passwords or usernames. For example, if you activate your Security Key on your mobile device and you lost it. You would not be able to log in to your desktop computer unless you also activated it on that device. This also means that you might need to manage multiple accounts since many websites or services limit the number of devices that can be used with them simultaneously.

Teamstack is a cloud identity and access management platform. It allows customers to provide SSO access through the most recent technology. This means that companies can unify their user experience. They can manage all aspects of the identity lifecycle from a single platform, lowering operational costs and improving security. We can help you manage user identities and access across multiple teams, devices, and clouds.

Passwordless authentication can be beneficial in certain circumstances. It reduces the number of passwords you need to remember and ensures that only authorized users have access. However, it is important to consider its drawbacks before implementing this system to know of any potential problems with using passwordless authentication.