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Ready for a Passwordless World?  Yes (Finally) Please!

It’s all been too much for too long now.

Users are beyond fatigued and frustrated when it comes to maintaining — on average — 100 passwords to keep data private as they move throughout their digital days. Many sites now require a “change of password” on a regular basis. Those that suggest secure passwords produce a preposterous string of complicated numbers, letters and symbols. But all those activities do not meet the latest security standards for multi-factor authentication (MFA).

The tools and interfaces to increase security with MFA already exist — and next-level access is moving mainstream.

Know Your Authentication Acronyms — FIDO and NFC

As systems gain intelligence and performance, passwords alone are not sufficient to maintain a high level of security. Organizations must tighten up cybersecurity strategies and pair convenience with fortification by increasing deployments of multi-factor authentication with a FIDO-NFC (near field communication) combination.  

  • Fast IDentity Online (FIDO): The FIDO Alliance is an open association with representatives from prominent global organizations including HID Global, Google, MasterCard, Microsoft and Yubico. FIDO standards provide a framework for stronger passwordless and multi-factor authentication for seamless credentialing while enabling quick transactions.

For example, users register a device and choose how to authenticate on that device. When they need access, they confirm who they are with their position of a second factor (a FIDO token) or a fingerprint, then their token acts as a translator between the authenticator’s security and whatever public service or application the user is trying to engage with to verify their identity. This combination of layered protocols offers extremely robust access control.

Near Field Communication (NFC): NFC technology is part of this experience as it enables secure, contactless and simple two-way interactions between the token and the log-in process. We are familiar with this easy contactless transaction when we use our mobile phone to pay for purchases. NFC readers support security and regulatory requirements, which mandate MFA for accessing various applications. NFC uses magnetic fields for secure, short-range authentication.

Reducing the World’s Overreliance on Passwords

Increased deployment of FIDO is already improving convenience, credentialing and equipment security across many markets. Use cases today where NFC technology is often deployed include retail, healthcare, pharmaceutical and financial services settings to make contactless payments, check in for appointments or prove your identity when doing business with financial institutions. But as the IoT continues to unfold, experts and hobbyists are discovering how FIDO and NFC can bolster security and uncover opportunities across a myriad of access scenarios.

We live in a hybrid world that requires smart identity verification and authentication solutions capable of balancing Zero Trust security with end-user convenience. In our fast-paced reality, we need efficiency backed by proven security measures. Broadening deployment of FIDO security keys with NFC technology eases the massive headache we all suffer today from juggling too many passwords.

Read more in our latest article on Modernizing Multi-Factor Authentication With NFC Technology.

Helmut has been in the security business for more than 25 years in various management roles for some of the leading suppliers of a broad range of security solutions. He also holds some patents. Within the last 20 years he has successfully led different engineering, global product management and marketing teams. His portfolio includes one of the first VPN products ever as well as solutions for HW-based encryption solutions in combination with RFID technologies managed by his various teams. He has been with HID now for more than 10 years with a focus on RFID technologies, and is used to challenging the status quo in seeking more customer-friendly solutions and services.