Apple joins industry effort to eliminate passwords

In a somewhat unusual move for Apple, the company has joined the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, an authentication standards group dedicated to replacing passwords with another, faster and more secure method for logging into online services and apps.

Apple is among the last tech bigwigs to join FIDO, whose members now include Amazon, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, RSA, Samsung, Qualcomm and VMware. The group also boasts more than a dozen financial service firms such as American Express, ING, Mastercard, PayPal, Visa and Wells Fargo.

“Apple is not usually up front in joining new organizations and often waits to see if they gain enough traction before joining in. This is fairly atypical for them,” said Jack Gold, president and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates. “Apple is often trying to present [its] own proposed industry standards for wide adoption, but is generally not an early adopter of true multi-vendor industry standards.

“FIDO now has enough momentum that I assume Apple is feeling the pressure to join in,” he said. “Especially in a cloud-based world, FIDO is a key initiative to authentication that companies really can’t ignore.”

David Mahdi, senior director of research for security and privacy at Gartner, said Apple’s move is noteworthy.

“It is a significant step in realizing a passwordless world,” Mahdi said. “Apple joining is a significant step.”

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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