Bye-bye passwords on Android: Now, use fingerprint to log in to apps, websites

As the debate over the countless privacy issues rages on, security remains a key concern as users information is on the risk.

  • By:

    FE Online
  • February 26, 2019 12:01 PM

This could bring an end to passwords.

Your Android passwords could soon be a thing of the past.

Sunder Pichai-led Google and the Fast Identity Online Alliance stated on Monday that Android has now been certified as FIDO2, a report by Cnet said. This means that Android devices can now use fingerprints and security keys for logging in to accounts instead of the usual passwords. The certification was announced at Mobile World Congress in Spain’s Barcelona.

However, users must note that the new change is only for devices running on Android 7 and above, which is used by half of all Android users, Cnet reported.

There is no other requirement for the millions of Android devices to get the added security feature. The new feature will be made available with an automatic Google Play Services update, the FIDO Alliance has announced.

Although, it must be noted that fingerprints or security keys as passwords were already in use for a few apps on Android devices, mainly for banking and other financial services. The new certification also opens security features to any Android developer, letting them login without password on the mobile browser and apps.

The key concerns

Passwords are, in a way, a key to any netizen’s digital space, which allows them access to accounts which manage their finances, social life and so much more.

However, as the debate over the privacy issues heats up, security is a key concern for many as users information is on the risk. Their security is rendered even more ineffective when the same password is used for multiple accounts.

And therefore, many security industry professionals plan to move away from passwords to tools such as biometrics and security keys instead. In contrast to passwords, fingerprints and security keys are very difficult to steal online, and with the announcement FIDO2 certification, protection is affirmed against phishing attacks.

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With this news from Google, the number of users with FIDO Authentication capabilities has grown dramatically and decisively, Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance, said in a statement quoted in Cnet report. “Together with the leading web browsers that are already FIDO2 compliant, now is the time for website developers to free their users from the risk and hassle of passwords and integrate FIDO Authentication today.”

It must be noted that besides Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge already have the FIDO2 standard.

This security standard verifies when users log in to ensure that it is the genuine page and not a fake site to fool netizens. Hackers are known to create fake pages.

A TeleSign survey in 2016 showed that the security company discovered that 72 percent of companies are planning to discontinue using passwords in the next decade, and instead, move to biometrics and two-factor authentication.

And it seems, Google plans to do the same, as shown by how its own security key in July, and tech experts are of the opinion that fingerprints could be the most preferred replacement for passwords to ensure better security for the netizens.

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