FIDO to Replace Passwords

imageWe 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 (, 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.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.

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