Passwords are ubiquitous and mostly indispensable to the present world driven by information technology. One cyber security firm, Cybersecurity Ventures, estimated that there would be 300 billion passwords protecting the digital gateways by 2020, and the number should certainly soar more by 2022. Although passwords are the primary defense against unauthorized entries to digital assets, they are kind of a nuisance too.
According to an estimate, on average, people spend 10 hours of their time each year resetting their passwords. That’s a significant cost to companies. Apart from becoming an inconvenience, they are also less reliable in protecting data and information. It has led to many experts speculating that the era of passwords will soon end, and more convenient and reliable methods like biometric authentication will replace it.
So, will 2022 see the death of passwords? This post will explore the possibility of passwords becoming obsolete and what discourse we have if we want to look beyond the present authentication structure.
Why is there a rising interest in replacing passwords with more adept and convenient authentication options?
Since the dawn of the internet era, password protection has remained the primary defense against unauthorized access, safeguarding our digital world. However, brute force attacks have since become highly sophisticated and efficient at cracking encryption. On top of that, people repeatedly using weak passwords have further allowed hackers to break the encryption easily.
Back in 2016, a brute force attack on Chinese e-commerce giant TaoBao compromised more than 20 million accounts. Weak passwords were primarily responsible for the successful breach. Furthermore, credential stuffing and password spraying coupled with traditional brute-force attacks have given hackers a significant advantage over cracking encryption. These possible vulnerabilities in the current authentication and safety infrastructure are the primary reason that experts are advising to look beyond passwords for protecting digital gateways.
The year 2022 will see decisive moves towards a passwordless digital world. For example, 2022 could witness the expansion of passwordless login possibilities, primarily biometric authentication.
Built-in support for local biometrics on Android and iOS devices – as well as Mac and Windows PCs, will become more extensive. It’s the same simple gesture widely in use to unlock mobile devices. In 2022 it will possibly provide password-free access to even more services.
This modern authentication approach will finally allow users to shun passwords – classic or one-time. Moreover, this approach will also prevent brute force attacks and halt them in their tracks while at the same time providing a better user experience.
Besides, top companies have already begun to roll out new options for authentication other than passwords. For example, Microsoft has already allowed hundreds of millions of Microsoft account users to employ biometrics or other options instead of passwords to connect to Office, Hotmail, Xbox, and other consumer services.
Enhanced security is the primary reason for the world going passwordless; however, there are other benefits too.
For people, it could mean a streamlined user experience, and there will be lesser incidences of forgotten passwords or locked out of accounts. In addition, it will allow users to access a more significant number of online services more regularly and without any hassle – be it online shopping, transactions, assistance or otherwise.
Although Biometrics and AMF indeed hold potential, will their use make passwords obsolete? Not at all.
The primary reason is that the transition from password authentication to passwordless authentication cannot happen overnight. The answer lies in the number – the use of passwords is so wide scale that devices, systems, networks and people currently rely on it. It makes passwords troublesome to replace; therefore, it’s improbable that the technology will disappear quickly.
Then what will be the most likely scenario?
It could be the combination of password and biometrics. Whatever the future holds, passwords don’t seem to become obsolete anytime soon.