It was certainly fitting that last week started with Groundhog Day, since it ended with another major breach that is reportedly the result of the same problems that cause over three-quarters of all data breaches - compromised credentials. The Anthem data breach should bring some major pause (again) to those at relying parties who are responsible for protecting sensitive data. As an industry, this is another opportunity to get things right.
The rise in mobile and cloud computing continue to drive the urgent need to rethink whether authentication. Users are relying on their mobile devices to handle everything from Facebook check-ins to banking transactions and online purchases. Legacy authentication has proved inadequate –as recent headlines demonstrate –7 million Dropbox passwords hacked, Russian crime ring steals 1.2 billion username and password combinations, etc. Traditional usernames/passwords and current Two-factor Authentication (2FA) schemes fail to meet the needs of today’s corporate and/or personal use.
Today marks another important moment for the FIDO Alliance. Google has announced Security Key, a physical USB second factor to provide an additional layer of protection for Google Accounts. This adds to the multiple second-factor choices Google users have to secure their online accounts from password compromises on their personal computers.
We see last week's move by Apple as a significant step in the right direction towards modernizing online payments and addressing a major problem in today's payment ecosystem using authentication as a key building block. The last twelve months have seen acceleration in investments in mobile commerce and payments powered by strong and simple authentication and we expect Apple's activities to add to the momentum.
Since our inception, we’ve been pretty vocal about what’s wrong with online authentication. If you are a follower of ours (or maybe if you’re not), you’ll likely agree that the use of passwords is the weakest security for authentication. However, Internet services continue to make consumers use a password as the primary method for access - even after breach after breach.
In recent weeks, we have seen a number of interesting reports/surveys that examine various aspects of data breaches. Here are a few:
The FIDO Alliance has seen huge growth in membership from the 6 founding members at the public launch in February 2013, to over 100 today – including major market leaders such as Lenovo, ARM, Bank of America, Google, MasterCard, Microsoft and many more. The Alliance has achieved significant momentum in its mission to reinvent authentication - and this momentum is continued with the news that Samsung is also joining the Board of Directors.
Just a few days ago, Microsoft made Windows 8.1 available as a free update to over 110M current Windows 8 users. The new release brings a host of improvements such as Snap views, the return of the Start button, and better SkyDrive integration.