Passkeys as successors to passwords.
By Tim Nodar, CyberWire senior staff writer
Oct 30, 2023

Major platforms seek mutually reinforcing convenience and security.

Passkeys as successors to passwords.

Google and Amazon are both moving towards using passkeys as a default login option. 

Using a device’s built-in authentication mechanisms.

Passkeys are a login technology that uses a device’s built-in authentication mechanisms, such as fingerprint sensors, Face ID, or Windows Hello. The Verge explains, “Passkeys are built on WebAuthn (or Web Authentication) tech and stored directly on your device. They are supported by companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft because they’re more secure than passwords or PINs which can be stolen.”

Amazon’s passkey support.

Amazon announced last week that passkey support is now available for “Amazon customers using browsers and is gradually rolling out on the iOS Amazon Shopping app with support coming soon on the Android Amazon Shopping app.”

Google offers passkeys as a default login option.

Earlier this month, Google made passkeys the default login option for personal Google Accounts: “This means the next time you sign in to your account, you’ll start seeing prompts to create and use passkeys, simplifying your future sign-ins. It also means you’ll see the ‘Skip password when possible’ option toggled on in your Google Account settings.”

An attempt to simultaneously increase security and convenience.

Peter Barker, Chief Product Officer at Ping Identity, offered some observations on Google’s move:

“Passwords have been a persistent security challenge for the past seven decades, leaving us susceptible to phishing attacks and the looming threats of fraud and identity theft. They also act as a barrier to achieving a smoother user experience.

“Consumers increasingly crave greater convenience without compromising on security. The path we must embark on leads us toward a passwordless future, though this transition will undoubtedly require time to be embraced on a grand scale.

“Notably, we have already witnessed the widespread integration of biometric authentication methods, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scans, into our daily lives. These technologies serve as stepping stones towards the ultimate goal of a world where the arduous task of logging in becomes a thing of the past. However, to truly reach this passwordless utopia, the general public needs a better grasp of the underlying technology.

“In light of these developments, Google's decision to champion passkeys as the default login option couldn't have come at a better time. Sometimes, it takes industry giants to take the lead, pushing for change more assertively. The adoption of passkeys signifies a significant leap forward, sparing users from the hassle of remembering passwords and the constant worry of them being stolen. This proactive move promises to reduce fraud and usher in a simpler, faster, and more secure user experience that we can all benefit from.”

Dave Treadwell, SVP, eCommerce Foundation, commented on Amazon’s switch:

“This is about giving customers ease-of-use and security simultaneously in their Amazon experience. While passwords will still be around in the foreseeable future, this is an exciting step in the right direction. We are thrilled to be an early-adopter of this new authentication method, helping to realize our vision for a more secure, passwordless internet.”