Monday, May 27, 2024

Use of passwords online declining globally, study says

The FIDO Alliance has published its second annual Online Authentication Barometer, which gathers insights into the state of online authentication in 10 countries across the globe.

Less people are now entering their password to access their online profiles, a new study says

The 2022 Online Authentication Barometer has identified that entering passwords online has dropped by 5% to 9% across all five major use-cases that it tracks — including accessing financial services, work computers and accounts, social media, streaming services, and smart home devices — compared to last year.

Despite this, passwords remain the dominant form of online authentication and cause major issues for people and businesses. For example, 70% of people had to recover a password at least once in a given month.

Service providers and retailers also were impacted, with 59% of people giving up on accessing online services in a given month and 43% abandoning purchases because they couldn’t remember their passwords.

Data from the Barometer also suggests these issues with remembering and entering passwords are leading more people to stay logged into accounts, rising by 5% to 11% across all use-cases, as people opt for greater convenience.

Other notable trends include multi-factor authentication through SMS One-Time Passcodes (OTPs) rising between 1% to 4% across all use-cases, as this legacy form of second-factor authentication is increasingly offered by service providers to rapidly improve consumer security and to meet regulatory requirements.

“This year’s Barometer data reveals that people see entering passwords as a pain and avoid it when they can,” said Andrew Shikiar, executive director and CMO of the FIDO Alliance. “Service providers realize the inconvenience and security issues with passwords and are offering more ways to authenticate such as cookies to stay logged in and/or legacy MFA like SMS OTPs.”

“However, these attempts at convenience and security are still based on outdated and phishable authentication technologies that everyone needs to move away from if we are ever going to stop the constant onslaught of data breaches. Organizations should all have implementation of modern, phishing-resistant authentication on their roadmaps, whether it is via on-device biometrics, FIDO security keys or passkeys,” the executive added.

Almost a third of people (31%) have logged into the metaverse recently, with 61% concerned over their security and privacy. Despite this, phishable authentication methods dominate with 38% of people logging in with passwords, 24% using password plus OTPs, and 21% remaining logged in.

Other, more secure, possession-based methods like biometrics (26%) and physical security keys (16%) are also prevalent. Passkeys, which provide secure and convenient passwordless sign-ins to online services, appear to have a high level of awareness, despite only being announced this year.

The data shows that 39% of people are familiar with the concept of passkeys — and this is especially high among 18-34 year-olds at 48%.

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