Passwordless Authentication – Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to authentication, passwords were once the safest and most used methods of authentication. However, with advancing technology, data breaches, and cyber attacks, password authentication is no longer safe or effective. According to a report by Verizon, 81% of data breaches are the result of weak or stolen passwords. Around 1 million passwords are stolen every week, resulting in an average cost of $1.3 million perdata breach. To protect against costly data breaches and cyber attacks, companies are rapidly turning to this authentication technique. 

This technology has gained popularity in the past few years, and experts predict this trend will continue to grow. Many websites rely primarily on a combination of email and passwords for secure authentication, but passwordless authentication is more economical and user-friendly. 

If you’re thinking about taking your security to the next level with passwordless authentication, here is everything you need to know about it!

What is Passwordless Authentication?

In simple words, passwordless authentication is a method of verifying a user without a password. The clear objective of passwordless authentication is to reduce or even entirely eliminate the use of passwords for granting access to restricted systems or resources. 

It can be applied in both offline and online modes. Given the broad spectrum, there are different ways to securely authenticate a user without a password. 

How Does Passwordless Authentication Work?

Passwordless authentication is a form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) in which a more secure authentication element, such as a fingerprint or a PIN, substitutes for passwords. When using MFA, two or more factors are required for login verification.

It is based on the same concept as digital certificates: a cryptographic key pair consisting of a private and public key. The public key is the padlock, and the private key is the actual key that unlocks that padlock, although they are both called keys. The padlock has only one key, and the key has only one padlock.

A tool (such as a mobile app, a browser extension, etc.) is used to produce a public-private key pair by someone who wants to create a secure account. The private key is kept on the user’s device and is linked to a form of authentication such as a fingerprint, PIN, or voice recognition. 

The public key is given to the website, application, browser, or another online system where the user wishes to register. This creates an authentication pair that is the only way the user can gain access.

3 Benefits of Passwordless Authentication

The following are just a few of the benefits that passwordless authentication offers:

Protection Against Phishing and Password Lists

Phishing aims to dupe the target into divulging sensitive information, such as a login and password combination. Alternatively, the attacker can buy password lists from previously stolen services for a reasonable price and assume that the employee uses the same password for several accounts.

Passwordless Authentication

People reusing their passwords expose their company’s otherwise secure services, which is the source of password list attacks. There are simply too many ways for passwords to be misplaced. It is an efficient precaution against the most prevalent forms of attack if passwords are replaced by a stronger authentication factor, such as an employee’s biometric used with their mobile phone.

A Better User Experience

Secure authentication can be as simple as putting your finger on your phone. Passwords will never be forgotten or misspelled again. Simply put, it is a fast, secure, and effortless user experience.

The solution blends what the user possesses, namely a device, with something they are, namely their biometrics. As a result, it’s a much more secure MFA than one based on passwords, and it only requires one action from the user. The authentication factor sequence and choice are tailored to the company’s requirements. External users will be able to receive a one-time push notification in the form of an app request for verification, SMS, or a “magic link” sent via email.

Reduced Need for Support

Organizations have implemented measures to force the adoption of complicated passwords to improve security, Including a certain length, contain special characters, and change from time to time. All of this has increased security while simultaneously increasing employee demands. Because complicated passwords are difficult to remember, the number of closed accounts that support must reopen has increased.

The number of password-related inquiries to support is related to the complexity of the password requirements. To put it another way, this antiquated solution is not only uncomfortable for employees but is also a huge cost driver for the IT support team. On the other hand it boosts productivity while lowering support calls, as biometrics are not lost or stolen, and do not require resetting.

Different Passwordless Authentication Methods

One-time Authentication Link Sent to the E-mail

The user provides his email during authentication, and the service generates a one-time link and sends it to the supplied email. The user must then open their email program, wait for an email from the service, and click the link.

One-time Password via SMS or Push

This is the most extensively used way of authenticating without a password. The user provides his phone number during authentication and then receives an SMS or push message with a one-time confirmation code with a limited validity duration. The user authenticates by entering the one-time code supplied in the service.

HMAC and Time-Based One-Time Passwords

Based on authentication attempts and a shared secret between the user server and client, an HMAC-based one-time password (HOTP) generates a one-time password algorithm. A time-based one-time password (TOTP) is an enhancement to HOTP that generates passwords based on the current system time. When a user authenticates to the system, these methods generate passwords on both the server and the client.


Users receive notifications on their mobile phone application while authenticating, asking for confirmation by fingerprint, facial recognition, palm, voice, or other modalities.  


Imageware Passwordless Authentication Solutions

Imageware Authenticate is a password-free MFA solution based on the unique qualities of the human body – something that can’t be misplaced or forgotten. The system provides readily adjustable policies for mobility, as well as on-device and Cloud-based matching. 

Wrapping Up

Passwords are a standard means of authentication, but they come with numerous security problems. Hackers can quickly get access to crucial corporate systems and user accounts by stealing or guessing passwords. Furthermore, the more passwords users must remember, the more prone they are to revert to bad habits such as password reuse or sharing. Passwordless authentication is safer because it reduces or removes the dangers associated with passwords while still ensuring that users are properly authorized.