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Mozilla Firefox Wants to Eliminate Passwords With Web Authn

Mozilla announced Firefox 60 on Wednesay, May 9th. The new release will use Web Authentication technology to make traditional passwords unnecessary on compatible websites. But what is Web Authn and how does it fit into a post-password future?

WebAuthn could be a future model. | Tanuha2001 | Shutterstock

WebAuthn could be a future model. | Tanuha2001 | Shutterstock

Mozilla Firefox’s newly released Firefox 60 implemented WebAuthn tech, a data security method which may replace passwords on their platform.

Given how often data breaches involve passwords, like the most recent Twitter fiasco, getting rid of our favorite personal access terms may be the best way forward for data security.

Web browser Mozilla Firefox released Firefox 60 yesterday with potentially future-proof technology. The company believes that Web Authentication technology can help diminish phishing attacks.

How does the WebAuthn tech work and does it prevent phishing?

image of How Web Authentication works for article Mozilla Firefox Wants to Eliminate Passwords with Web Authn
How Web Authentication works via LinkedIn

A Commitment to User Privacy

In the blog post announcing the change, Firefox stated the motivation for this update. It involved creating products that meet user needs, as well as respect user privacy.

Using WebAuthn tech furthers that goal, so it is a natural fit.

Firefox60 uses WebAuthn with compatible websites using physical authentication devices. Think something like the YubiKey dongle or some kind of biometric identification like fingerprints.

Dropbox also lauded the power of Web Authn in a Tuesday blog post. But essentially, it eliminates the need for passwords by using a distinct marker.

The technology uses a standard web API that integrates with browsers and other web infrastructure. It empowers the user to use alternative security methods across devices and sites.

With each Web Authn marker being unique to the user or sometimes a physical object, you can see how it is nearly “hack proof”. This also helps eliminate potential IoT cybersecurity threats.

image of a fingerprint on a keybaord for article Mozilla Firefox Wants to Eliminate Passwords with Web Authn
TheDigitalWay | Pixabay

Still far From a Post-Password Future

Unfortunately, the technology only works with websites that support the technology. Right now, that list isn’t too long, but even Google security experts realize the importance of moving beyond passwords.

Adam Langley ruminated on the importance of Web Authn in March.

But Web Authn also supports Google Chrome, so perhaps other browsers will adopt this new approach to security. The question revolves around how quickly websites and devices will adopt the technology.

Read More: Three Ways to Use ART: IBM’s Open Source AI Security Library

How secure are biometric identification process compared to passwords?

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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