The Pros and Cons of a Future Without Passwords

CNBC explores the dream of “a future where nobody has to constantly update and change online passwords to stay ahead of hackers and keep data secure.” Here’s the good news: Some of the biggest names in tech are already saying that the dream of a password-less internet is close to becoming a reality. Apple, Google and Microsoft are among those trying to pave the way… In theory, removing passwords from your cybersecurity equation nixes what former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has called “by far the weakest link in cybersecurity.” More than 80% of data breaches are a result of weak or compromised passwords, according to Verizon….

Doing away with passwords altogether is not without risks. First, verification codes sent via email or text message can be intercepted by hackers. Even scarier: Hackers have shown the ability to trick fingerprint and facial recognition systems, sometimes by stealing your biometric data. As annoying as changing your password might be, it’s much harder to change your face or fingerprints. Second, some of today’s password-less options still ask you to create a PIN or security questions to back up your account. That’s not much different from having a password…. Plus, tech companies still need to make online accounts accessible across multiple platforms, not just on smartphones — and also to the people who don’t own smartphones at all, roughly 15% of the U.S.

Some data points from the article:

  • Microsoft says ‘nearly 100%’ of the company’s employees use password-less options to log into their corporate accounts.”
  • “In September, Microsoft announced that its users could go fully password-less to access services like Windows, Xbox, and Microsoft 365.”
  • Apple’s devices have used Touch ID and Face ID features for several years.”