Microsoft reports that “81% of data breaches are the result of weak, default, or stolen passwords.” They’re recommending that we get rid of them. There is a strong argument to do so, and some slick alternative authentication methods available and in the works.
Why Should We Get Rid Of Them?
There are a lot of reasons why passwords aren’t great. One of the biggest ones is that users don’t like them. They’re hard to remember. They’re cumbersome. As a result, they get reused repeatedly and become less and less effective.
Password manager applications seek to help solve some of these issues, but they’re not perfect either. They can be cumbersome to set up and use. If it’s too difficult users won’t do it, and security gets tossed by the wayside.
Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA is striving to fix some of these problems. It’s a huge step forward for security. MFA thwarts 9(% of common password attacks.
However, it’s still not perfect. Some users don’t like the complexity of MFA and get confused. Issues with ease of use can cause adoption challenges. It’s also still susceptible to man in the middle and phishing attacks.
The good news is that new solutions to go password less can help make secure authentication easier than ever on users. Microsoft specifically has 3 different methods they are using.
The first method that Microsoft created a while back is Windows Hello. This is a handy feature allows you to use a simple PIN or biometric data to log into your windows machine. If your hardware is equipped with a camera or fingerprint scanner, you can use facial recognition or fingerprint for authentication. It’s slick, and may devices have biometrics built in lately.
Microsoft Authenticator is another great option. This is an app you can grab for your phone. It allows you to use MFA simply via the app. You can also upgrade the account and go password less. This allows you to log in by selecting the number that pops on the site you’re authenticating with. You may have seen this with google as they have been using it for some time as well.
FIDO2 security keys are the last option. These used to be referred to as a dongle. Essentially, it’s a USB security key that accepts biometric data like a fingerprint to log you in securely without a password.
All these methods are significantly more secure than traditional passwords and help to keep you safe online. These aren’t the only ways to go password less, but they are good ones.
Exciting Authentication Future
Apart from these methods there are some awesome alternatives that are starting to come onto the market. My favorite is biometric wearables.
One that I’m particularly excited about is Token. Token is a smart ring that securely stores your credentials. It uses biometrics to unlock and reads your fingerprint as you slide it on. Then the magic starts.
You can use token to make contactless payments by simply knocking twice and hovering your hand over the reader. The same motion can be set up to activate NFC building access. No more key card needed to get into the office.
There are a lot more planned applications for Token as well. They have plans to make it work with transit cards, car, and home locks and more for the future. There may eventually be a time you can simply waive your hand to log into your favorite apps online.
I think it looks pretty cool too.
Stay Safe Out There
Moving away from traditional passwords and on to MFA or a password less solution should be on the to do list of small business owners everywhere. The additional security will go a long way to keep users safe, and the new methods for logging in will make your users happy as well.
As always, i.t.NOW stands ready to help. If you have questions about how to set up MFA or password less solutions for your business give us a call. Our experts would love to help.