Passkeys have never been an Apple exclusive, but the confusion is understandable

Passkeys have never been an Apple exclusive, but the confusion is understandable

When Apple introduced the passkeys, and its implementation of the FIDO Alliance’s password-less secure authentication technology, the company did so in the most Apple way possible. He made an icon and printed “Passkeys” next to the Apple branding, complete with a San Francisco font. And if you’ve only seen a portion of WWDC’s show on Apple passkeys, you can assume that passkeys are an exclusive feature of Apple’s iCloud Keychain. Just a reminder: it is not.

The term “passkey” will also be used by major players Microsoft and Google. It is used as a common name and can be plural or singular, for example: “You must set a passkey for your banking application.” In other words, treat the word “passkey” as you would the word “password”. Passkeys work by letting you sign in to an app or website with your username and your pre-authenticated device – which uses an encrypted token instead of your password and text message code that could be spoofed or otherwise hacked.

Ricky Mondello, director of software engineering at Apple Twitter thread started yesterday To promote the new technology and explain what it means. Microsoft Vice President of Identity Alex Simons coincided in the thread and confirmed that Microsoft will adopt the name as well. It appears that all parties involved are committed to spreading awareness of passkeys, and so far none of them have attempted to claim that they are their own.

‘Passkey’ is definitely easier to take in the name than ‘FIDO Authentication’, which can be really confusing when used verbally – like this where I want Enter the name of the first pet? But seriously, if you have to explain to the layman what two-factor authentication is, and it takes more than five minutes, imagine teaching them what FIDO authentication is.

For technology to succeed, it needs that marketing push, and what better way to spread the word than to let Apple take over. If Apple is really trying to trick people into believing that passkeys are Apple-only technology, it’s probably branded with Apple PassKeys.

If you’re using the developer beta for macOS or iOS, you can start using passkeys now where available. Google plans to open developer tools needed to implement passkeys on Android “at the end of 2022”. Microsoft currently supports web passkeys with Windows Hello, and will support MS account login with passkeys from an iOS or Android device “in the near future.”

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