Dream of the Internet without a password – Sciences et Avenir

This article is taken from the monthly journal Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche #913 of March 2023.

Life without a password… The dream of every Internet user: no more creating and typing those endless combinations of letters, numbers and special characters recommended by computer security experts. However, between e-commerce, social networks, administration, banks or online insurance, the current Internet user has to deal with dozens of personal accounts. It is impossible to remember all relevant passwords unless you use the same password multiple times, which should be done last to avoid being hacked too easily.

It is in this context that Apple launched Passkey on the occasion of the September 2022 rollout of iOS 16, the latest version of its mobile operating system. Promise ? Finished the password! This authentication system has actually been in preparation for many years as part of the Fido alliance, bringing together technology manufacturers (Meta, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, Paypal, Google, etc.) around defining authentication standards. It has also been adopted by Google for Android mobile devices and Chrome browsers, Microsoft and even Paypal.

When a user registers with an online service or mobile application using an access key, two cryptographic keys specific to the service in question are generated. One, the private key, remains in a locked and encrypted location on the user’s device. The other, the public key, is stored on the service server, but is neither secret nor hidden.

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