The Apple Watch has been able to completely replace passwords and one-time keys thanks to a new method of authentication being stated as a way of “solve the world’s password problem.”
I argued that passwords were bad afterwards.
By theory, a combination of password managers and face ID or touch ID means we should never have to type them manually, but the reality is very different. We can all think of countless examples of occasions where a manual login is needed for an app, corporate system, or a website with many URL variations.
The problem of passwords
The FIDO Alliance, an organization founded to create a safer and easier alternative to passwords, points to the many problems they create.
- Passwords are the root cause of 80% of data breaches
- The average person has more than 90 online accounts
- Up to 51% of passwords are reused
- A third of online purchases are abandoned due to a forgotten password
- The average help desk cost of a single password reset is $70
There are already hardware alternatives to passwords, such as the YubiKey, but one of the companies behind the FIDO Alliance believes that using a device that many of us already have on our wrists makes more sense: a smartwatch.
How to replace passwords with your Apple Watch
Nok Nok Labs provides a FIDO-based SDK for the Apple Watch to get the ball rolling.
Instead of being asked for a password, your watch would just ask you to tap a checkmark to allow an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC login. Those who do not have an Apple Watch can do the same on a smartphone.
It’s mostly being pushed for enterprise systems at the moment, but the long-term goal is to make FIDO a web standard so that passwordless authentication can be used for any website.