Authentication

Apple Joins FIDO Alliance Aimed At Nixing Passwords

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Apple has joined the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance, an organization that wants to get rid of passwords for logging in, according to reports.

The news broke when French website MacG posted a tweet that showed the Apple logo and the text “New Board Member.”

The tweet was deleted, but then Apple’s logo showed up on the FIDO Alliance page as an actual official board level member. Other companies in the FIDO Alliance include Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon. Board members also include finance companies like Paypal, Visa, Wells Fargo, American Express, ING and Mastercard.

Ben Lovejoy, a writer for 9 to 5 Mac, said passwords are outdated and that people need a better way to access their personal information.

“They were fine way back in the days when we only needed a handful of them, but these days you need a password to do everything from transferring photos from a camera to an iPad through to ordering a pizza. We probably each have hundreds of the darned things,” he said. “And passwords are especially horrible on iOS devices — where we have to switch an on-screen keyboard between letters, numbers and symbols multiple times to type a single password.”

While there are alternatives to passwords, like biometrics and Face ID, many people resort to using the same passwords for multiple sites, which means compromising someone’s information is easier than ever if a hacker knows what they’re doing.

For example, many bad actors will get a password from a site with low security and use the same password on a higher-security site.

The FIDO Alliance solution is that trusted devices should replace passwords. That would work the same way Apple’s two-factor authentication (2FA) operates. Basically, when a user tries to sign in, a company will send a code to a trusted device and then that code is entered for access.

This method works because instead of just needing a password to sign in, a hacker would need to physically have both devices on hand — the device being used to sign in and the one with the code — to access information.

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