Passkey vs Password Battle: is the Game Over?

Recently, there’s been a growing trend to grant access to websites, services, and applications via something called a Passkey. What exactly is this, and how does it differ from the traditional method of using passwords?

Passkey and password are two distinct authentication strategies used to verify a user’s identity.

A Passkey, also known as an ‘access key,’ is an innovative technology that eliminates the need for traditional passwords. Instead, it enables users to access accounts and applications with a cryptographic key. It uses biometric data such as fingerprints or facial recognition to authenticate users. A Passkey is composed of both a private and a public key, which are created by an authenticator. This authenticator could be any device, including smartphones or tablets, as well as web browsers or password management apps that are equipped with the Passkey technology.

Conversely, a password is a word or sequence of characters — including letters, numbers, and symbols — used to confirm a user’s identity or permissions. This method has been the standard approach for securing access to information from unauthorized viewers.

The fundamental difference between a Passkey and a password lies in the method of authentication: Passkeys utilize cryptographic keys along with biometric data, whereas passwords rely on a user-entered set of characters.

Which is preferable: Password or Passkey?

The choice between a Passkey and a password depends on individual preferences and requirements. Consider these critical differences:

Security: Passkeys are typically more secure than passwords as they combine cryptographic keys with biometric data, making them less susceptible to phishing and hacking. In contrast, passwords can potentially be guessed, intercepted, or forgotten.

Convenience: Passkeys are generally easier to use since they don’t require the memorization of complex passwords. However, Passkey technology isn’t as widely adopted or as straightforward to use as it could be.

Compatibility: Passkeys are device-specific. This means if you need to log in from a different device, another authentication method, such as a password, might be necessary.

In summary, Passkeys could offer enhanced security and ease of use compared to traditional passwords. However, given that Passkey technology is still evolving, passwords might still serve as the more viable option for many users for the time being.