OPINION: It was recently World Password Day, but instead of celebrating the security feature, Apple, Google and Microsoft have joined forces to announced plans remove passwords forever.

All three companies have unveiled plans to implement “support for FIDO Sign-in standards” on future devices and platforms, which will eliminate the need for passwords. Instead, when you log in to a device, app, or website, you’ll simply need to unlock your phone to circumvent security measures, whether it’s through a fingerprint sensor, face recognition, or something else.

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Personally, I’m excited about the prospect of giving up passwords forever, and it’s not just because I’m lazy and prefer the convenience of touching a fingerprint sensor. I also believe that passwords are one of the least secure security options, so getting away from them can actually make our devices and personal information more secure.

Of course, if we all created long passwords with any string of letters, numbers, and symbols, then it would be virtually impossible for anyone to crack your password. But most of us are guilty of using weak passwords.

According to NordPass in 2020, the top five most used passwords in the UK are:

  • 123456
  • password
  • Liverpool
  • password 1
  • 123456789

Many of us are also guilty of using personal information when creating a password that includes a date of birth, a child’s name, or even a football club they support. A quick look at someone’s Facebook profile can potentially give a hacker everything they need to guess your password.

It’s common for people to use the same password on multiple devices, websites, and platforms, so if someone can guess a single password, they’ll probably have access to many other accounts.

But I want to emphasize that I do not blame anyone for using such basic passwords. After all, in the modern age we have so many different accounts (including social media, email, streaming services, online retail stores, delivery services, etc.) that it is impractical to expect everyone to create and remember unique passwords for each individual application.

We have countless other login options now. I own a Samsung Galaxy S21 and I love being able to unlock my phone by just looking at the camera or tapping the screen with my finger. It’s so fast and hassle-free that I often forget that my phone uses facial recognition to unlock – it just starts working right away.

Google’s password-free login concept

It is worth noting that these security measures are also not perfect. It is possible to cheat a fingerprint scanner with 3D shapes that The Verge describes as “just a little harder than opening a letter” while Vietnamese security company Bkav unlock iPhone X with FaceID using 3D printed mask.

But even if it’s still possible to bypass a fingerprint or facial recognition firewall, it still takes a lot more hacking effort than just guessing your simple password. It only takes someone to look over your shoulder to find out the password on your phone or laptop, while Apple claims there is less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of a random person being able to unlock your iPhone or iPad Pro via FaceID.

It’s also great to see Apple, Google and Microsoft work together to come up with even more secure options. I’m intrigued to see how the universal password-free login standard from the FIDO Alliance will perform, even if I’m a little skeptical about the growing reliance on smartphones. But let’s hope it works out, because I can’t wait to finally remove the passwords forever.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete is our weekly column of opinions focused on calculations, where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it in Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete: It’s finally time to ditch passwords

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