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Google Joins FIDO To Strengthen Authentication Methods


Protecting your online accounts will no longer just lie on your passwords alone as Google joins FIDO or Fast Identity Online Alliance’s board of directors to strengthen its authentication methods. A press release published by FIDO stated NXP and CrucialTec were also among the new additions to its board.

The Technology

Based on FIDO’s press release, the examples of the technologies that the Alliance is expected promote further are the following:

1. Biometric Verification

The process is probably the most reliable method of identifying an individual because it uses the distinguishable traits of a person from his or her biological features. This includes fingerprint analysis, voice recognition, eye scanning and face authentication.

2. OTP

A One Time Password, as the name implies, is a kind of password that can only be used once. The password is generated in a random manner and it can only be retrieved by using a separate device, software or a computer.

3. NFC

The Near Field Communication is a chip technology that enables gadgets to transfer bits of data from one another. It works by placing two devices equipped with NFC chips near each other or by tapping them together in order to exchange sensitive data. The technology is used online in credit card transactions, purchasing items, applying coupons and others.

4. TPM

The Trusted Platform Module is a chip incorporated into a computer to keep cryptographic data like encryption keys and digital signatures. It has its own internal firmware making it independent from the OS and other external software weaknesses. This is ideal for managing transactions and other confidential data.

5. USB Token

A USB Token is a specially designed USB stores the digital identity of a person. Like a normal flashdrive, all you have to do is plug it into your computer and enter a PIN number associated with it in order to access the data that you have kept exclusively.

No More Traditional Passwords?

Several news sources claim that the technology of FIDO will effectively replace our traditional passwords in the future. It is also implied in the slogan of the Alliance’s website that says, “forget passwords”.

However, the press release of the company did not mention anything about eliminating these. So, it is likely to be used as a second verification process too like what Dropbox implemented just recently. But it remains to be seen what the full implementation of the technologies can bring about.

One thing is sure though, the new authentication methods that FIDO is promoting will effectively eliminate the ever-predictable verification processes that involve using the so-called “security questions”. A “security question” is very easy to predict because it only asks general information about a person like birthday, mother’s maiden name, favorites (like food, books, superhero, etc.) and other stuff that you can easily obtain from a person’s social networking profile or ID.

About FIDO

The FIDO Alliance was founded by Lenovo, Nok Nok Labs, Paypal and Validity. The press release of the Alliance stated that it has doubled its membership since its founding. Aside from the big names that make up the group, it has representations in various countries as well like South Africa, Australia, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden and South Korea.

Source: FIDO Alliance Website and Press Release

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