Passkeys vs. Passwords: Tech Giants Push for Change, but Challenges Remain

Tech Giants Embrace Passkeys, but Hurdles Await Their Complete Adoption

The era of passwordless technology is on the horizon, with tech giants like Google and Apple taking significant steps towards making passkeys the new standard for user logins. Notable players, including WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and X (formerly Twitter), have also joined the passkey movement, indicating a trend that may soon sweep the digital landscape.

But does this mean passkeys are ready to replace passwords for good? While tech leaders are enthusiastic about their adoption, there are lingering questions and potential obstacles yet to be resolved.

Widening Adoption: The Early Signals

The initial data suggests that users are transitioning to passkeys with relative ease. According to password manager Dashlane’s research, 92% of passkey creation requests are successful, compared to 54% for traditional password creation requests. The FIDO Alliance, the governing body for passkey technological standards, reports that 57% of US consumers express interest in using passkeys to secure their accounts.

In the enterprise realm, change is underway as well. Identity management firm Okta has partnered with security key maker Yubico to supply pre-registered passkeys to Okta subscribers, making passwordless logins more accessible to organizations. Other password managers, like Bitwarden, have introduced tools for creating passkeys for enterprise apps.

These efforts aim to make the switch to passkeys as seamless as possible, dismantling barriers to their adoption. However, challenges persist, particularly in terms of compatibility.

The Compatibility Challenge: Mozilla, Linux, and More

Despite the push towards passkeys, not all browsers and operating systems fully support them. Mozilla Firefox and Linux systems face compatibility issues, with workarounds often needed to implement passkeys effectively. Additionally, Windows 10 only saves passkeys to the device, preventing synchronization and use across multiple devices. Apple devices require specific OS versions, excluding older devices from the transition.

The Hesitation of Smaller Companies

While tech giants are embracing passkeys, smaller companies have been relatively quiet on the matter, suggesting that passkeys have yet to permeate every corner of the digital world.

Passwords: Here to Stay?

Roger Grimes, Data-Driven Defense Evangelist at KnowBe4, believes that passwords will remain a part of the digital landscape for at least another decade. He points out that even today, some websites do not work seamlessly with password managers, let alone advanced passwordless systems.

Transitioning to a new technology is rarely a smooth and immediate process. The idea of a revolutionary replacement for old methods typically involves a more complex journey. The path towards passkeys replacing traditional passwords is still long and filled with challenges. While tech giants are leading the way, complete adoption may take time and necessitate solutions to compatibility issues and broader participation across the digital landscape.