Could the launch of new passkeys by Google kill off traditional passwords? This new security feature has been introduced with a view to eventually replacing the traditional type of password that business and personal users sometimes struggle to maintain as secure as they would like, so how might it work?
The Problems with Traditional Passwords
This survey from ExpressVPN shows that many people use exactly the same passwords as other users, relying upon very simple passwords that are relatively easy to guess, with sports teams and band names among the most common choices. Their infographic reveals some of the most popular passwords in different countries, with examples such as ‘iloveyou’ in the USA and ‘ashley’ leading the way in the UK. Meanwhile, ‘123456’ is the most widely-used password around the world, in general.
Another problem with passwords can be seen in the fact that a lot of users rely upon the same word or phrase as a password for different accounts. The key issue, in this case, is the breach of one account can immediately lead to the hacker gaining easy access to another account. Yet, the question of constantly creating strong new passwords for each account has proved to be difficult for many people, who often opt for the simplest approach of re-using the same words over and over again.
How Can Google’s New Feature Help?
Recently launched for Google Chrome and the Android operating system, the passkeys allow users to create and then control their passkeys on any PC or Android device. It’s all securely synchronized through the Google Password Manager to make it as simple and seamless as possible to control. The process works by using advanced cryptographic techniques and biometrics so that, for example, someone with a mobile device that has TouchID or FaceID can quickly authenticate a new service and create a brand new passkey.
At the time of writing, this new security feature has recently been rolled out as beta software, meaning that it’s only currently available for people signed up for Google Play Services as well as those who are on the Google Canary channel. The tech giant expects to roll out a version for more users later this year. An API that lets developers integrate passkey support into websites and apps is also expected out later in 2022.
This follows from Apple’s announcement last year that passkeys are the best way to make the internet a safer place for everyone who uses it. Among the benefits of passkeys, we can see that they protect users from phishing attacks, they can’t be reused, and they aren’t vulnerable in the event of a server breach.
All of this means that the introduction of Google’s new passkeys system should help us to stay safer online. It’s still too early to say exactly when we can expect the majority of businesses and personal users to switch over to this method, but it seems likely that this is among the first steps toward a new, more secure way of going online.