Passwords will disappear, Apple says so

We’ve been talking about the end of passwords for a while now. And now that’s about to happen, thanks to technology developed by the FIDO alliance, which Apple, Google and Microsoft will support.

This technology, which will replace passwords, is passkeys. In essence, instead of identifying yourself with a password on apps and online services, you use a system of cryptographic keys: a public key which will be on the server of the online service or app, and a private key that will be kept secretly on your device, like your smartphone.

And instead of entering a password, you will only have to authenticate yourself on your smartphone, using for example a fingerprint reader or a facial recognition scanner, to validate the connection. It is therefore more practical, but also more secure, since human beings tend to create passwords that are much too simple and therefore easy to hack.

Passkeys: Apple is all the way!

During its WWDC conference, Apple presented its implementation of passkeys on its products and services, which should be available this fall. The technology will be available on iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.

To create a passkey when opening an account on a site, simply identify yourself with TouchID or FaceID. © Apple

For this technology to be used, it must also be supported by app and website developers. And according to Apple officials who were interviewed by the Tom’s Guide site, it should be done fairly quickly.

Indeed, developers would already have everything they need to adopt passkeys on their sites and apps. Moreover, these have a motivation to get rid of passwords for good.

One of these managers explains that the public keys that will be stored on the servers of the developers will have no value, unlike the private key which they will not have to store.

“So it’s going to reduce the liability of developers running services…and developers will want to take advantage of that because of the decreased liability”he said.

Of course, there will also be the practical side for users. To connect to a site, they will only have to identify themselves on their smartphones using Touch ID or Face ID.

Note also that Apple has already planned to synchronize passkeys across all user devices, thanks to its iCloud Keychain, which is already used to synchronize sensitive data such as passwords or payment information. . In addition, in case of loss of the iPhone, the keys will be recoverable on this keychain.

It should also be noted that Apple has already provided a system for connecting to non-Apple products, via a QR code system.

In any case, the Cupertino company is convinced that we are heading well towards the end of passwords.

“It’s not a future dream to replace passwords”said Kurt Knight, senior director of platform product marketing at Apple, in the interview. “It’s something that’s going to be a path to completely replacing passwords, and it’s starting now. »

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