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Why we need to make passwords a thing of the past

Passwords have long been a source of frustration and vulnerability in the digital age. Remembering complex passwords with various requirements can be difficult, leading many people to rely on password managers. However, even with password managers, there are still issues with autofill not working properly. Additionally, passwords are often the gateway to billions of dollars in fraud each year. Despite the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA), hackers have found ways to adapt and breach systems. As a result, it is time for a passwordless approach to authentication. This involves using methods such as push notifications, one-time passwords, and biometrics to determine the authenticity of a login attempt. AI innovations have made this passwordless approach accurate and reliable.

Passwordless authentication works by shifting the focus from something you know, like a password, to something you are (biometrics) or something you have (such as a smartphone). Advanced passwordless authenticators analyze signals and behavioral insights to assess the likelihood of an authentic login. These signals can include location, IP address, and approved device MAC address, while behaviors can include user preferences and choices. By combining and analyzing these readings, a risk score is assigned to each login attempt. If the risk threshold is breached, a prompt is sent to verify the login or the session is closed and the user is kicked out.

Implementing passwordless authentication is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies must evaluate their own fraud and risk priorities before implementing it. Using accepted standards like SAML, OAuth, and OpenID Connect can help in the development of software services. FIDO2 WebAuthn, adopted by major companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, has also become popular. It is crucial to design authentication journeys that balance security and login friction for employees, suppliers, and customers. During rollout, existing authentication methods should not be disabled until enough data has been collected to identify any emerging issues.

AI plays a crucial role in passwordless authentication. It enables models to learn about each login attempt and refine user profiles. AI models are already used in banking to identify transactions and detect suspicious activities. By incorporating fraud prevention technology into the authentication experience, organizations can successfully prevent fraudsters from gaining unauthorized access to systems and resources.

It is important to retire passwords as soon as possible to mitigate against the weak link in security – people. Stolen credentials are often the preferred method for attackers to access systems. The identity access management industry is working to establish standards for passwordless authentication to be quickly implemented across various applications. This change will enhance security and protect individuals and companies from fraud.

Key Points:
1. Passwords are frustrating and vulnerable, leading to the need for password managers.
2. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has been successful, but hackers have adapted.
3. Passwordless authentication uses methods like biometrics and push notifications.
4. Signals and behaviors are analyzed to assign a risk score to login attempts.
5. Implementing passwordless authentication requires evaluating fraud and risk priorities, using accepted standards, and balancing security and login friction. AI plays a crucial role in refining user profiles and preventing fraud.

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