The Realities of Moving to a Passwordless Computing Future

It is essential to recognize that no authentication system is completely immune from attacks.

The adoption rate might also be influenced by different factors like ease of use rather than strict security compliance. The latter would be much more of a concern for enterprises as opposed to consumers.

How much impact will changing log-in methods have in overcoming software vulnerabilities?

Even without inputting a password, amalgamating something a user possesses, like a phone or token, with an inherent attribute such as a biometric feature presents formidable challenges for hackers attempting to replicate both.

Bolutiwi: Quite simply, no. While promoting the adoption of complex passwords can offer improved security, it is not a foolproof solution. Even with efforts to bolster intricate password usage, challenges like human error, password fatigue, the risks of phishing, and mishandling persist.

Would this be a different process for non-business computer users? If so, why?

Other alternative authentication methods could eventually become more popular. These include email links, one-time passwords delivered by email or SMS, facial recognition, and fingerprint scanning.

Organizations must also assess their existing technology landscape for compatibility with prospective passwordless systems, factor in the costs associated with new installations, modifications, or system upgrades, and gauge their cloud adoption level.

What role might the human element play once the hardware is in place?

Google unleashed an open beta for passkeys on Workspace accounts in June. It allows organizations to allow their users to sign in to a Google Workspace or Google Cloud account using a passkey instead of their usual passwords.


White Paper - An outcome-driven strategy is the key to a customer’s heart

Passwords are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks that are deceptively subtle and take various forms. Using passwordless authentication minimizes this risk.

Big Tech Pushing Passwordless Solutions

“Passwordless solutions, however, introduce a transformative approach by eliminating the concept of passwords altogether, transitioning the onus from users managing complicated credentials to more intuitive and seamless authentication methods, thus offering a more secure paradigm,” offered Bolutiwi.

Q&A Exploring the Pros and Cons of No Passwords

Google and Microsoft are paving the way for password alternatives.

Bolutiwi: Solely improving user education and strict password policies does not diminish the vulnerabilities associated with password-based authentication.

These physical devices generate and store cryptographic keys, ensuring that only the authorized individual with the correct token can gain access. These leverage the same concept as digital certificates.

Tell us how this passwordless process works behind the scenes.

Despite their challenging nature, complex passwords can be reused across platforms, forgotten, or written down insecurely and remain susceptible to various attacks. These can include credential stuffing, phishing, and brute-force attack methods.

How would a passwordless computing world actually work?

TechNewsWorld asked Mesh Bolutiwi to discuss his most pressing views on moving into a passwordless future.

TechNewsWorld: What is your view of the overall safety improvement offered by password replacement strategies?

Dr. Mesh Bolutiwi

As passwordless methods become more prevalent, it is only a matter of time before new attack techniques emerge, targeting potential weak points or attempting to steal biometric data.

“These include a strong emphasis on reducing data breaches, improving overall security posture, and reducing long-term support costs tied to password management,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Security More Essential Than Convenience

“While passwordless authentication offers a robust authentication solution, it is not entirely impervious to attacks. The risks often hinge on the method employed, be it biometrics or hardware tokens,” said Bolutiwi.


Dr. Mesh Bolutiwi, CyberCX
Director, Cybersecurity

It effectively sidesteps the pitfalls of stolen credentials. Still, it is not without its own risks, such as the potential theft of hardware devices, tokens, or the spoofing of biometric data, he added.

Passwordless solutions also improve user authentication and scalability for businesses by providing a more efficient way to meet applicable regulatory and compliance requirements.

Additionally, organizations should be mindful of potential user resistance, especially when passwordless methods hinge on personal devices, owing to a lack of understanding or reluctance towards this novel approach.

How would multiple authentication factors play into transitioning to a passwordless computing environment?

Bolutiwi: In a passwordless world, users would authenticate using methods like biometrics — fingerprints, facial recognition, retina scans, or voice pattern recognition.

They could also use hardware tokens such as physical security keys or soft keys, smartphone-based authenticators, or even behavioral patterns. They would be identified and verified without entering any memorized secrets using something they have or something they are.

Even so, passwordless authentication creates a significant setback for bad actors. It makes cracking into systems more difficult than traditional passwords and is less prone to most cyberattacks, according to cybersecurity experts.

Windowless Entry Reassuring

Integration is crucial during this phase, ensuring seamless compatibility between passwordless solutions and existing systems and applications, coupled with rigorous testing. Moreover, organizations must evaluate challenges tied to supporting and integrating with legacy systems, which might be incompatible with passwordless authentication standards.

However, access to the private key, which is stored on the user’s device, would require the user to carry out a biometric-related action to unlock the private key. The private key is subsequently matched with the public key, and access is granted if the keys are matched.

What needs to happen to implement passwordless entry for business networks?

He added that the rapid growth and sophistication of mobile computing devices have also played a significant role in purging passwords. Traditional authentication methods often fall short on these devices.