Alternative to online passwords is finally with us

The problem of passwords is not new, and several companies have tried to come up with alternative authentication systems that would eliminate the need to remember complex passwords for everything we do online. Now, a new alternative has seen the light of day with Lenovo and PayPal introducing the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) system which replaces the need for passwords in order to have secure online transactions.

Both companies have joined forces using biometrics from the firms Infineon Technologies, NokNok Labs, Validity and Agnitio in order to build the hardware component for FIDO. The group says that password authentication can only go so far, and is prone to security issues. With the new system, sites can detect when a user has the new FIDO hardware and use that in order to authenticate, replacing passwords with this more secure method.

The goal of FIDO is to support a number of standards, including biometrics like fingerprint and voice scanners, along with NFC or second-factor authentication such as a security token. They created the new system to allow for future innovation with ways for new authentication methods to be added to it.

According to Michael Barrett, the head of the FIDO alliance, security is going to become very critical with more businesses using the Internet for sensitive transactions. It is Barrett’s hope that by being given a choice, users will embrace the FIDO system. They are also trying to get more vendors onboard so that more authentication methods can be added to the system, so less passwords need to be remembered by users.