Passwordless authentication is a verification procedure that assesses whether a user is who they claim to be without having them input a password. Examples of authentication techniques include biometrics, security tokens, and piggybacking on an application, service, or device that has previously authenticated the user.
Passwordless authentication improves the user experience and reduces the time required to access applications or devices. Additionally, authentication ID minimizes the need for IT personnel to maintain passwords and the likelihood of phishing assaults, password reuse, and password breaches.
With passwordless authentication, users may sign in to an application or device using one or several ways. Common forms of passwordless authentication to secure accounts include email-based, SMS-based, multi-factor, and biometric verification.
Email authentication involves confirming a user using a magic link or one-time code. With a magic link, the user must provide their email address, where a unique token will be sent. When the user opens the link, the service identifies the token and exchanges it for a real token, thereby authenticating the user.
With a one-time code, the user will input their email address and get a message with a unique one-time code. The user inputs the code into the service, which verifies the user’s identity and logs them in.
SMS authentication begins with the user giving their phone number. After which, a one-time code is given to the phone. The user will enter the code into the service, validate the code and phone number, and authenticate the user’s account.
SMS authentication may be less secure than other verification techniques because it has been subject to several attacks in the past. Also, SMS- and email-based authentication permits access to a service via a second device through push confirmations. The push confirmations may lead to a problem when the authorized device receiving the notification is stolen, so the account could still be accessed by others.
Another kind of passwordless authentication is biometrics. Biometrics focuses on technologies like fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software. This authentication method is often encountered on mobile devices such as smartphones.
Multi-factor authentication usually employs three authentication factors, such as security questions, PINs, and contact information. The nature of these characteristics is dependent on the device or service.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an excellent step for passwordless verification. MFA significantly improves the security of every access transaction. It can be a motivating factor for implementing true passwordless authentication across the organization.
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