Logging into Gmail or Facebook could soon mean plugging in a USB device, potentially making phishing a thing of the past.
That’s thanks to WebAuthn, a new open standard for hardware-based two factor authentication currently supported by Firefox and soon to be supported in Chrome and Edge. Today the Fido Alliance and W3C announced the standard has reached the Canddiate Recommendation stage, meaning it’s likely to become a core function of the web.
We’ve outlined how Google and other tech companies are working on WebAuthn, so check that out if you’re curious, but the quick summary is that a hardware device communicates directly with websites via your browser to confirm your identity.
Tools like this have existed in the past, but WebAuthn is an open protocol, meaning the technology is not tied to one hardware vendor. Your smartphone or laptop could eventually bake in support for this protocol, potentially combined with biometrics for increased security.
WebAuthn is already supported in the latest version of Firefox, with Chrome and Edge support coming soon. Apple hasn’t said anything about Safari supporting the standard.
If you want to give this a shot as soon as possible Yubico announced a new key using the standard today. The company previously offered similar devices, but this one is based on the open WebAuthn standard.