11 May 2023

The beginning of the end of the password?

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Remembering passwords is often frustrating because they can't be too easy, you have many different passwords and (sometimes) don't use them often. Moreover, they are often easy to guess or crack, so that they can end up in the wrong hands, or they are publicly visible due to data leaks.
Last year, a partnership between Google, Apple and Microsoft announced that they would support so-called "passkeys" as a simpler and more secure alternative to passwords. Passkeys or password keys allow you to log in to apps and sites with a fingerprint, a face scan or a PIN code. Passkeys are resistant to hacking and phishing, making them more secure than regular passwords.

How does the use of passkeys work?

For each device (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc.) you need to create a passkey for your Google account. A private key is then stored on that device, and a public key is uploaded to Google. When you sign in, you can access your device with your private key. This is then verified with your public key.
If you're logging in with a new device (or do so temporarily), choose the "Use a password from another device" option and follow the prompts. You then have one-time access or can create a new passkey for your new device.
To work with passkeys, at least one of the following operating system and browser versions is required:

  • Google: Chrome 109+, Android 9+, ChromeOS 109+
  • Apple: Safari 16+, iOS 16, macOS Ventura
  • Microsoft: Edge 109+, Windows 10/11


Set passkey?

Google has now started rolling out support for passkeys. For the time being, this will be an additional option for logging in, in addition to passwords and two-step authentication.

While passwords will be around for some time to come, the use of passkeys is already available for Google Account users who want to sign in without a password. Google Workspace account administrators can enable the use of access keys for their users.
Do you want to set up an access key for your Google accounts? You can try this out and set it up at g.co/passkeys.

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