The digital horizons have broadened with the digitalisation of businesses and increasing online presence in the world. Be it online banks, universities, schools, or businesses, everyone has a network server and website to support their cause. Demand for these digital services increased, and so did the supply!
But with that, we have observed an increase in safety issues as well. But considering today’s technological advancements, we are also being provided with solutions to these cyber issues. With these advancements, the cybersecurity sector has become more dynamic and comprehensive.
It became obvious that monitoring, reporting, and eradicating are the bases of network safety. In the same way, verification, identification, and authentication can be the foundation of access protection. FIDO2 authentication is an excellent example of this dynamic cyber security sector, and we should discuss how!
What is FIDO2 Authentication?
FIDO Alliance, an open industry association, was established in order to provide standards of authentication and security framework for mobile devices, computers, and laptops. FIDO essentially stands for Fast Identity Online! It is the new standard that is walking us towards a passwordless security system.
With the help of this type of system security, you do not have to memorise the complex, strong passwords that contain every element on the keyboard, like lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, symbols, etc. Your password is stored in the system, and on authentication, you can just log into it.
FIDO2 authentication is the upgraded version of FIDO U2F (Universal second factor authentication). FIDO2 is basically designed to eliminate the use of usernames and passwords from the internet and bring in a passwordless system to protect data.
It uses the public-key cryptography principle. Let’s dive deeper into this topic to understand how this passwordless standard of authentication works using this cryptography!
How Does FIDO2 Authentication Work?
In order to make the internet and digital experience hassle-free and password-free, the FIDO alliance established the fast identity online standard using pair-key cryptography through FIDO2.
This system has two types of keys: public key and private key.
2. The Sign-Up
So, when you are subscribing or signing up for an application, network, or website for the first time, you register your basic information and details. Your device or standalone password manager will help this network by providing you with these public and private keys. These keys are called passkeys!
The public passkey will be stored with the server, and the private passkey will be stored in the device or with the client. The private key is secured and encrypted in the environment in which it was created.
Now, when you begin your login procedure into the network or application, the device will send you a challenge (a test) that will prove that the device and private passkey are in the rightful owner's possession.
You have to use the local PIN, biometric, or touch FIDO2 authenticator security key in order to verify the sign-in passkey. You will have to use the FIDO2 authenticator and the device, and it will sign the challenge and send it to the server that is in charge of the public passkey.
This procedure demands the server to verify the passkey and validate the challenge signature. The server validates this challenge using the public key.
6. Access Granted or Denied
If everything is verified to be precise and correct, the user is granted access to the application, network, or website. If it does not match, you will be denied access to the network.
Without any username, password, or sensitive information, you have completed your registration with a network or application, and you will face little to no risks regarding the same.
FIDO2 Authentication Against Phishing Attacks
The biggest wall between your network and a phishing attack is simply the FIDO2 authentication. Let us understand why!
Phishing attacks are performed in various ways but meltdown to one weak link, and that is your username-password.
Since the password is a form of authentication and can be cracked one way or another, it becomes a liability in many ways. The increasing number of phishing attacks is just another reason why these passwords are a liability.
When you remove passwords and insert a passwordless authentication in its place, you eliminate the possibility of being attacked by phishing or other types of attacks, like MITM (Man in the middle).
Benefits of Implementing FIDO2 Authentication
We can find solace in the added layer of security, which is enough for the network’s protection. Since it is a passwordless security system, any and every cybersecurity threat that relates to a password gets eliminated on its own.
For example, FIDO2 provides safety from phishing attacks, DDoS attacks, and hacking through passwords and push notifications. This vastly benefits internet users since most of us have multiple password-protected accounts that are at risk of being exposed to threats.
All of us know and understand the hassle of setting a new password for every account, a strong and complex password so no one can crack it, memorising the password, and then entering it into the system without any human errors.
With FIDO2 authentication, you don’t need to go through this trouble.
Reduced Privacy Risks
Since FIDO 2 operates on stored passkeys, public and private, it doesn’t rely on sensitive and biometric information of the user. This provides greater security and enhances the privacy of the user’s details.
Since the system itself generates these passkeys, the user doesn’t have to memorise them. Above all, these keys are unique, so the service providers cannot track users across the internet.
Adaptable and Scalable
Most browsers and platforms available today are suitable for using FIDO2 technology. FIDO2 authentication can adapt and operate with computers, operating systems, mobiles, laptops, applications, etc.
Apart from that, it can be used along with two-factor or multi-factor authentication on your system, increasing the security levels.
Since the logins are passwordless, the technology is easy to use for everyone. This enhances the user experience.
Even if FIDO2 is integrated with multi-factor authentication, you still streamline the effort at the time of login without wasting your time and energy on passwords!
Challenges of Implementing FIDO2 Authentication
While there are many advantages of implementing FIDO2 authentication on your system, you will have to look at the flip side, too. Although the challenges of using FIDO2 are very practical and can be solved, it is important for you to know their existence and understand them.
The first one is very obvious, and that is its cost. Employing any new kind of authentication system can take a toll on your expenses since it consumes time and requires hardware.
You can still choose to implement this system by balancing out some other expenses because everything depends on your willingness to pay and implement.
Calling FIDO2 hassle-free will be incorrect if you are implementing it on top of your existing authentication security system. It can be a hassle for someone who logs into the network multiple times a day.
Lack of Awareness
Many websites, applications, and networks are not aware of this technology called FIDO2. This prevents them from installing and implementing this security system on their network.
Potential Future Developments
With the abovementioned benefits and challenges, we can always assume that there is going to be some development in order to reduce or eliminate the drawbacks completely.
There is more awareness about FIDO2 today than there was yesterday, and that will be the case for tomorrow, too. The awareness and knowledge of this hassle-free and passwordless authentication is increasing by the day.
We can also see a potential collaboration between biometric authentication and FIDO2 authentication in the very near future. Biometric factors such as fingerprints, eyeball scans, and facial scans are being used for FIDO right now, but companies are also trying to use voice recognition for authentication purposes.
FIDO2 is a relatively and comparatively new authentication standard in the digital world. It is very convenient, easy to use, developing rapidly, and keeps you away from the hazards of username and password.
Having a safe and secure network in place is very important in order to keep your data, details, and sensitive information private. Safety can affect every aspect of your digital identity, and having strong security authentication at your disposal matters a lot.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between MFA and FIDO?
MFA stands for multi-factor authentication, and FIDO stands for fast Identity Online. Both are different types of authentication solutions that use different modes to authorise access to users.
Is Google Authenticator a FIDO?
Google is completely compatible with FIDO Alliance’s technology of authentication. You can use the FIDO security key in order to secure your Gmail accounts from phishing attacks!
What is the difference between FIDO and FIDO2?
FIDO and FIDO2 are the same security solutions, where FIDO2 is an upgraded version with better security and authentication standards.