Passwords – where we are now and where we are going in the future

Did you know that one in four Indians use a weak password for their online accounts? Not only this, but the vast majority of internet users will reuse the same password for multiple accounts. At a time when more and more of our lives are becoming digitized and online, we need to be sure to take steps to protect ourselves and our data. But is the concept of passwords dying out altogether?

An introduction to passwords

Passwords or passcodes have been used for thousands of years in various forms. From words used to gain access to a room or to cross a boundary to computer-generated codes to gain access to mobile applications, things have come a long way since. In the digital sphere, users are asked for passwords to gain access to online accounts such as email, bank, and communications and their mobile devices or computers.

These passwords consist of letters, numbers, and certain characters, and the site in question often decides the formula. The issue is that people are not particularly creative when it comes to passwords. As demonstrated in this rundown of the world’s most used passwords, you can see some distinct trends. For example, 123456, qwerty, names, and popular culture references are used widely, making it easy for hackers to pounce. So what is the solution?

A password-free future

Three of the world’s biggest The Guardian’s report on tech giants with billions of customers between them have come up with a plan to ditch passwords completely. Google, Microsoft, and Apple have banded together in support of a plan by the World Wide Web Consortium and the FIDO Alliance to do away with passwords as a standard. Instead, users would be offered a different kind of sign-in authentication that is secure, consistent, and easy to use.

People’s inability to use strong passwords has driven the desire for change, despite campaigns to raise awareness. As the threat of cyber attacks continues to increase, the companies felt it was necessary to take action.

Passkeys and more

Their idea is that each individual’s phone will store a completely original passkey and can be used to unlock various online accounts linked to the owner. This passkey would be created with cryptography which the professionals insist is much more secure. Furthermore, it is only accessible when the device owner unlocks it and links it to the account in question. Should the owner lose or break the phone, access can still be granted by syncing from the cloud back up to a new device. Of course, the caveat here is that the user must keep their mobile device security as well, not just with a pin code but with biometrics such as a fingerprint.

In the meantime, all of these companies have rolled out features to help consumers secure their online presence. For example, two-step verification and biometrics on all devices. These either remove the need for a password or add another step into the process, making it much harder for nefarious actors to gain access to something they shouldn’t.

If you are active online, you need to take steps to secure your password and add in other layers of security and authentication. You might think the risk only applies to others, but it always pays to be careful.

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