There are plenty of ways to log-in at a computer, but how many of them are secure? Standard sign-in procedures, like using a social account or two-factor authentication might be easy or more secure than your (probably terrible) password, but don’t offer the security features of biometrics. FIDO, a standard for using a USB or other plug-in as a security key for your computer or device, has just released version 1.0 of their software. This builds on the work of Google, who have previously worked with FIDO, but takes it a step further.
FIDO’s system provides an open source platform for security, and cryptographic authentication for anyone using their standard. There are two ways to use FIDO’s platform: a fingerprint scanner, popular for mobile devices, or a second factor plug-in dongle, like a USB key for your computer.
This will also carry across platforms, thanks to some hard work by Nok Nok, which have taken Apple’s Touch ID API and made it work with FIDO.
FIDO wants to take us away from passwords and into authentication, and their system does a pretty admirable job of making sure you actually have your phone or computer with you. The authentication standards aren’t technically new, but FIDO’s are the first to be widely available with some major backing. If success or failure depends on who’s using your system, Google isn’t a bad backer to have, and open sourcing the software might encourage others to join in as well.