Access keys, the latest biometric authentication standard looking for password replacementsis now available in stable versions of the program Google Chrome on desktop computers and Android devices.
Release announcement in Chromium blog post (opens in a new tab)Google has confirmed a common belief in tech circles that passwords are vulnerable to data leaks, phishing attacks, and that simple passwords are often reused instead of storing strong ones generated passwords in password manager.
In the future, access keys in Chrome for Android will be synced using Google Password Manager or other password managers that support them.
The future of access keys
Access keys sit alongside other security policies that either supplement passwords or eliminate them altogether, such as No trustwhich also includes multi-factor authentication. They are now available on iPhones and iPads, having started life integrated with iOS.
And just like iOS integration, Google Chrome will let you use keys stored on nearby mobile devices with login requests on desktop devices.
In its blog post, Google stated that this was made possible by developing access keys according to “industry standards” developed with FIDO Alliance (opens in a new tab) and W3C (opens in a new tab)although it did not develop further.
Chrome 108 is the first appearance of access keys in the stable version, but as TechRadar Pro reported they have the keys at this time available from October 2022 (opens in a new tab) in Chrome Canary, the company’s experimental version of the browser designed for developers and cutting-edge tech enthusiasts.
TechRadar Pro recently reported that both 1Password and Bitwarden are moving to the new standard, without completely retiring passwords.
A big part of the appeal of access keys is control. Being able to easily track user account access keys is important for the same reason password managers have grown in popularity in recent years: they provide users with the ability to stay safe online without having to easily recall their credentials.
For this purpose, all access keys can now be viewed and sorted in Chrome for windows and macOS.
As we have noted extensively before, access keys will take some time to become the dominant online authentication method.
Website developers have to manually implement key creation, and while many may not see the urgency of doing so right now, the recent conscious push by several tech companies to support key storage could turn the tide in 2023 and beyond.