We have come to a point in the history of networking and cybersecurity where we are seeing the effectiveness of passwords falling to the improved cracking tools of cyber-criminals. At this point the encrypted hash of an 8 character password can be solved in less than a day using brute-force techniques. Passwords and PINs are over. What will replace them?
The FIDO Alliance (Fast IDentity Online) has released version one of its new authentication standards, Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) and Universal 2nd Factor (U2F), as announced in their December 9th press release.
The FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance (https://www.fidoalliance.org/), an open industry consortium delivering standards for simpler, stronger authentication, today published final 1.0 drafts of its two specifications – Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) and Universal 2nd Factor (U2F). Members of the FIDO Alliance comprise device manufacturers, online service providers and enterprises, who can now implement and broadly commercialize FIDO 1.0 specifications to make authentication simpler and stronger for all.
“Today, we celebrate an achievement that will define the point at which the old world order of passwords and PINs started to wither and die,” said Michael Barrett, president of the FIDO Alliance. “FIDO Alliance pioneers can forever lay claim to ushering in the ‘post password’ era, which is already revealing new dimensions in Internet services and digital commerce.”
UAF will work using a combination of biometrics and some sort of security token or dongle. U2F will complement existing password logins by providing a universal two-factor authentication method.
The significance of this development is that it could provide a simple and universally recognized method for authentication that would eliminate the need to create and remember dozens of individual login credentials. You would be recognized and authenticated as yourself wherever you went on the web.
This is something to keep your eye on in 2015.