The Evolution of Authentication
An analysis of 6 million accounts showed that 10,000 common passwords would have access to 99.8% of the accounts. When looking at passwords for banking accounts, it can be found that 73% of users shared their online banking password with at least one non-financial site, which means that when the non-banking site gets hacked, the banking account is threatened. And it’s not only about security. According to a recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, more than 45% of the online transactions fail “Very Frequently” or “Frequently” due to authentication problems. Passwords do not work, yet no other technologies have been broadly deployed, why is that?
Current alternative technologies require their respective proprietary server technology. The current authentication architecture therefore consists of ’silos’ comprising the authentication method, the related client implementation and the related server technology. Instead of having a competition for better user authentication methods, authentication companies are faced with a battle for the best server technology.
Other current challenges with Authentication include the need for flexibility. Today it is used for electronically initiating high value money transactions and for accessing the personal purchase history in an online bookshop. The security needs are different. The ongoing adoption of mobile devices and the BYOD trend lead to an increasingly heterogeneous authentication landscape. There is no one approach that can meet these diverse requirements.
The FIDO Alliance, a new industry working group, has been founded to define an open, interoperable set of mechanisms that reduce the reliance on passwords.
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