Unleashing the Power of FIDO Passwordless Authentication with 1Kosmos BlockID

Robert MacDonald

What is FIDO Passwordless Authentication?

Fast Identity Online (FIDO) is an advanced security protocol that seeks to eliminate the need for passwords, moving towards a more secure and user-friendly authentication process. FIDO passwordless authentication is a modern approach to two-factor authentication that deviates from traditional methods that typically rely on usernames and passwords. Instead, it leverages cryptographic techniques and private keys to ensure that users are who they say they are.

This approach fundamentally differs from traditional authentication systems. Unlike conventional password-based methods of authentication, where users must remember and input passwords, FIDO facilitates authentication by verifying the user’s device or biometrics.
This ensures direct communication between the user’s mobile device, computer browser, and the server, minimizing the risk of phishing attacks and data security breaches.

The Importance of Secure Authentication

Password-dependent authentication has long been a vulnerability relying solely on passwords for securing accounts, and sensitive data has led to a surge in cybersecurity incidents, including data breaches, identity theft, and unauthorized access, stolen credentials used to user’s identities elsewhere.
By focusing on only secure authentication methods, the FIDO passwordless and universal authentication framework also emphasizes reducing password-associated risks.
It addresses the vulnerabilities of username and password-dependent authentication methods alone, making it challenging for attackers to compromise the user’s computer accounts, thus fortifying online security.

Overview of How FIDO Works

FIDO (Fast Identity Online) offers a revolutionary take on user authentication through the security keys and its nuanced, cryptographic approach, differing substantially from traditional password-based systems. Here’s a more in-depth technical breakdown of how FIDO operates:

  • Asymmetric Cryptography: FIDO relies on a pair of cryptographic keys — a public key registered with the online service and a private key securely stored on the user’s device. This pair is used to authenticate users securely.
  • Local Device Authentication: Before the cryptographic process begins, the user must unlock the local device through a secure action such as entering a PIN, using a fingerprint sensor, or leveraging facial recognition technologies.
  • Authentication Request and Response: When authentication is needed, the service challenges the user’s device. The device then responds using the private key to sign the challenge, which the service verifies using the public key.
  • User Verification and Key Pair Generation: During registration with an online service, the user’s device creates a new key pair on behalf of the user, keeping the private key securely on the device while registering the public key with the service.
  • Limited Reliance on Centralized Servers: The private keys never leave the user’s device, limiting centralized servers’ necessity and minimizing the attack surface.

What is the FIDO Alliance?

The FIDO Alliance is a robust consortium of leading international companies and organizations dedicated to establishing and promoting authentication standards that reduce the world’s over-reliance on passwords.
Through a collaborative approach, the FIDO Alliance aims to create secure, user-friendly, and universally applicable authentication methods that seamlessly integrate across various online platforms and systems.
Members of the FIDO Alliance contribute to the development, standardization, and widespread adoption of passwordless authentication practices. These contributors range from tech giants and financial institutions to government entities and other industry players, collectively driving innovation and fortifying global online security landscapes.
The FIDO Alliance’s pioneering work nurtures a resilient digital ecosystem where businesses and users can interact confidently, benefiting from enhanced security and a simplified user experience.

Advantages of Implementing FIDO Passwordless Authentication

Enhancing User Experience

FIDO’s passwordless authentication significantly improves the user experience. Users find the authentication and registration process more convenient and less cumbersome without remembering and managing multiple passwords. This reduction in friction enhances user satisfaction and fosters a more streamlined and efficient user account and journey.
Implementing FIDO’s username and passwordless approach simplifies the user’s interaction with digital platforms, security devices, and services, encouraging more frequent and confident use of online services. It marks a considerable step forward in creating an even online service environment where security and usability coalesce.

Boosting Security Levels

One of the fundamental advantages of FIDO passwordless authentication lies in its enhanced security levels. Using cryptographic principles such as public key cryptography and private and public key two pairs, FIDO passwordless sign ensures that user credentials remain secure, minimizing the potential attack vectors typically associated with traditional password-based security usage.
FIDO reduces the vulnerability of authentication processes by more user attempts and eliminating the dependence on passwords for user attempts. It mitigates common attack strategies like password cracking and phishing, contributing to a fortified security framework that confidently safeguards the user’s account data and privacy.

Reducing Costs and Resources

The implementation of FIDO passwordless authentication can result in substantial savings for businesses. Reducing the reliance on passwords decreases the number of password reset requests and the associated administrative support, thus saving time and resources.
Moreover, enhanced security mechanisms considerably reduce the risks and potential costs associated with data security breaches and cybersecurity incidents.
In doing so, FIDO passwordless authentication presents itself as a cost-efficient alternative to password theft that optimizes user identity security and resource allocation.

Implementing FIDO Passwordless Authentication in Businesses


Steps to Adopt FIDO Authentication

Adopting FIDO Authentication in your organization entails a series of well-planned and executed actions. Here are specific steps

  1. Gap Analysis: Conduct a thorough review of your existing authentication infrastructure to identify weaknesses, redundancies, and areas for enhancement.
    Map out the user authentication journey to understand the user experience and identify potential friction points.
  2. Strategic Planning: Develop a comprehensive strategy outlining the implementation process. Consider timelines, key milestones, and necessary resources. Align the FIDO authentication implementation strategy with broader organizational cybersecurity objectives.
  3. Selecting Appropriate FIDO Solutions: Choose a FIDO-certified solution like BlockID that aligns with your organization’s needs. Consider factors such as usability, scalability, and compatibility. Engage with vendors and solution providers for product demos and technical consultations to make informed decisions.
  4. System Integration: Collaborate with IT teams to integrate the selected FIDO solutions within the existing technology infrastructure. Conduct rigorous testing to ensure the new authentication mechanisms’ compatibility, reliability, and performance.
  5. Staff Training and Awareness Programs: Organize training sessions to educate employees about the new FIDO authentication processes, especially those in IT and security roles. Develop user guides, FAQs, and other resources to assist users and ensure a smooth transition.
  6. Pilot Implementation: Begin with a pilot phase, implementing the FIDO solutions in a controlled environment to gather feedback and identify potential issues. Use insights from the pilot phase to make necessary adjustments before a full-scale rollout.
  7. Full-Scale Rollout: Roll out the FIDO authentication solutions organization-wide, ensuring that all systems are updated, and all users are onboarded. Continuously monitor the implementation for user feedback, system performance, and any signs of security vulnerabilities.

By following these steps, security professionals can ensure a successful, secure, and user-friendly implementation of FIDO authentication security key, within their organizations.

Common Concerns and Solutions with FIDO Passwordless Authentication

Addressing Skepticism and Doubts

Misconceptions and uncertainties often surround new technological advancements. For FIDO passwordless authentication, addressing skepticism is vital to foster understanding and adoption of the operating system. Clarifying that FIDO’s protocols are built on strong cryptographic principles and industry best practices can dispel doubts regarding its security and reliability.
Businesses can navigate uncertainties and build confidence in FIDO’s passwordless authentication methodologies by providing factual information on the authentication method used and demonstrating its effectiveness through successful implementations.

Technical Challenges and Their Mitigations

Technical challenges such as integration difficulties, compatibility issues, and the requirement for ongoing support and updates are inherent in implementing any new technology.
For FIDO, the key pair solving these challenges involves ensuring that the authentication protocols are compatible with existing systems and that there is a strategy for continuous improvement and adaptation to evolving technological landscapes.
Proactive planning, technical support, and guidance can help mitigate these challenges, ensuring a smooth transition towards FIDO passwordless authentication and its sustained effectiveness.

Ensuring Accessibility and Inclusivity

FIDO passwordless authentication should be accessible to a wide demographic, ensuring inclusivity and universal usability of security devices.
It should be designed and implemented considering diverse user needs, capabilities, and personal mobile device preferences to ensure the technology is user-friendly and universally applicable.
By focusing on accessibility and inclusivity of complete authentication processes, FIDO passwordless authentication can be more broadly adopted, benefiting a broader user base and fostering a more secure and user-friendly digital environment.

The 1Kosmos BlockID Advantage

1Kosmos BlockID enhances the implementation of FIDO2 authentication, emphasizing interoperability and a seamless user experience across various platforms. Certified by the FIDO Alliance, BlockID ensures a robust, phishing-resistant authentication method, leveraging the device’s built-in FIDO tokens and supporting multiple FIDO authentication methods, including device and token-based approaches.
The 1Kosmos advantage lies in its “register-once-use-anywhere” strategy, allowing security keys to be device-independent, facilitating seamless interoperability across connected web applications and workstations, including Windows and Mac.
Users can utilize the BlockID mobile app as a FIDO authenticator, enabling login into workstations with enhanced security, as it relies on public key cryptography, making the system resilient even if user credentials are compromised.
BlockID supports a variety of FIDO keys, including enterprise/device-bound passkeys, and is designed to be future-proof, allowing the addition of any released FIDO key through APIs, ensuring flexibility and preventing vendor lock-ins.
BlockID goes beyond FIDO authentication, fortifying your security framework through a multitude of advanced protective measures such as:

1. Biometric-based Authentication: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through credential triangulation and identity verification.

2. Identity Proofing: BlockID provides tamper evident and trustworthy digital verification of identity – anywhere, anytime and on any device with over 99% accuracy.

3. Privacy by Design: Embedding privacy into the design of our ecosystem is a core principle of 1Kosmos. We protect personally identifiable information in a distributed identity architecture, and the encrypted data is only accessible by the user.

4. Distributed Ledger: 1Kosmos protects personally identifiable information in a private and permissioned blockchain, encrypts digital identities, and is only accessible by the user. The distributed properties ensure no databases to breach or honeypots for hackers to target.

5. Interoperability: BlockID can readily integrate with existing infrastructure through its 50+ out-of-the-box integrations or via API/SDK.

6. Industry Certifications: Certified-to and exceeds requirements of NIST 800-63-3, FIDO2, UK DIATF and iBeta Pad-2 specifications.

To learn more about the 1Kosmos BlockID solution, visit the platform capabilities and feature comparison pages of our website.

FIDO2 Authentication with 1Kosmos
Read More
Meet the Author

Robert MacDonald

Vice President of Product Marketing

Robert is the Vice President of Product Marketing at 1Kosmos. He is a highly influential senior global marketer with more than 15 years of marketing experience in B2B and B2C software in the biometric authentication space. Prior to 1Kosmos, Rob managed product strategy and vision for the Identity and Access Management portfolio at Micro Focus, leading a team of product marketers to drive sales and support the channel. Earlier in his career he set the foundation for content planning, sales enablement and GTM activities for ForgeRock. He has also held senior marketing positions at Entrust, Dell, Quest and Corel Corporation.