Password authentication is not always the most secure method to protect your online accounts. Sometimes, it requires something extremely unique that only you possess to make sure that you’re the only person that has access to them. Even though passwords do offer some level of protection, you might be using weak and easy-to-hack ones.
If used properly, passwordless logins are a great way to secure your information. You might already be using some of them without even realizing it.
It’s the perfect time to learn about the passwordless authentication methods that you can use to prove your identity instead of the traditional passwords.
What Is a Passwordless Login?
Passwordless authentication is a method used to prove whether the person is really the one they claim to be and allows them to pass identity verification without using passwords or passcodes.
This approach can be applied both online and offline. Face ID, for instance, is a passwordless login method that interacts with online services. Smart door locks is an example of an offline one.
So the main idea behind any passwordless authentication method is to use some kind of possession or inherent factor instead of passwords to verify the person’s identity. With a passwordless authentication method, you can do many things including accessing your account, verifying a payment transaction, unlocking a phone, and many more.
Let’s move on to the main types of passwordless logins that you might already be using.
1. SMS-Based Authentication
Some services let you sign in to your account even without knowing your username or password. To log in, all you’ll need to do is enter the phone number that you also used during registration and wait a few seconds to receive a text message with a one-time code. Then type it in when signing in and, voila, you’re in your account.
However, this passwordless login method is not as widespread as biometric scanning. And usually, this one goes along with a password as a two-factor authentication (2FA) method.
2. Email-Based Login System
The email-only login system is quite similar to authentication through SMS. Only here, you’ll need to enter your email address instead of the phone number to access your account.
After doing so, you’ll receive an email with a clickable link directing you to your account. This method is great for those people that don’t log in very often to a particular site since it is a slightly lengthy login process.
But if you somehow lose access to your email address that you used when registering on that site, you won’t be able to log in to that account, and you’ll be forced to create a new one. Another disadvantage of this method is that not all people use secure email systems.
3. Social Media or Email Sign-In
Many websites provide the option of getting registered with the user’s social media account or email. If you choose this option during registration, then you’ll be able to use this method for login as well.
However, this isn’t an entirely passwordless authentication method since you’ll still need to enter the password to your social media or email account. But it does minimize the number of passwords and usernames that you need to remember.
For example, you may be offered to log in via your Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail account.
4. Biometric Scanning
This is another alternative to the password login method that uses physiological or behavioral characteristics to verify your identity. Simply put, your body becomes the “key” to proving that you are who you say you are.
Your face, fingerprints, palm, iris, signature, or even voice can be used to identify you.
The behavioral characteristics that can be used as an identifier include typing style, mouse or finger movements, the way we open apps, how low we allow our battery to drop, and many more. Usually, these identifiers are used to distinguish between a person and a robot.
You may already be using this type of passwordless login without even knowing what it is. Some examples of this method are Touch ID, Face ID, PC fingerprint scanners, and Android Face Unlock. Many popular apps also have this verification method available—PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Dropbox, and many more.
What Are the Benefits of Using Passwordless Authentication?
Passwordless authentication offers many advantages both for websites and their users. Here’s why many people choose passwordless login methods over traditional passwords.
- Better user experience: Passwordless authentication eliminates all of the troubles connected to remembering complicated passwords. Whether it is fingerprint scanning or text message verification, you don’t need to keep a list of complex and hard-to-remember passwords for each and every of your accounts.
- Improved security for users and organizations: It’s obvious that, since there are no passwords to hack, it will become much more difficult for a cybercriminal to get into your account.
- Quicker login process: No one likes to fill out long forms, take complicated steps, and be forced to create an account. Passwordless authentication makes everything quicker and easier.
Passwordless vs. Password Authentication
The main reason why more people prefer to use passwordless authentication methods is that, with it, signing in an account, making a purchase, or unlocking a device takes less effort and time.
If you are using the password authentication method, you need to make sure that the password that you’re using is a strong one.
Make Your Account More Secure With 2FA
Two-factor authentication is a method meant to take the security of your account to the next level. By applying the 2FA method, you can bring the possibility of someone hacking into your account to a minimum.
But just like any other identity verification method, 2FA has both positive and negative sides.
Since passwords are considered less secure, and the passwordless methods are not always available as the only login option, you might need to combine both of them to add that extra level of protection.