Is the Use of Passwords Becoming Obsolete?

In light of COVID-19, more and more companies have adopted remote work policies which have made it crucial to emphasise cybersecurity. Although this has allowed for social distancing, it has exposed confidential corporate and customer data to potential attacks by cyber criminals. This makes it imperative for businesses to have strong security measures in place to safeguard against possible breaches and data leaks.

To enhance their cybersecurity, there are multiple measures that businesses can undertake, including consistent installation of updates, frequent backing up of data, implementation of tools like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and encrypted communication channels and partnering with offshore software development teams. They could also consider revisiting their dependence on passwords.

The waning popularity of passwords is evident as safer and more expedient means of authentication are being developed. Several password-based systems now require a supplementary authentication factor, like a one-time passcode or a ‘magic link’, along with the primary credentials. This article will explore the reasons why passwords are being phased out and the alternative solutions that are taking their place.

Passwords Lack Adequate Security

Security analysts at Exabeam have reported that cyber criminals can purchase a stolen credentials database for as little as $500, providing them with an opportunity to target different websites, as many users have a habit of reusing passwords. The World Economic Forum has also pointed out that insufficient password management is a major contributor to the criminal underworld.

Eric Elliot, a technology specialist, has emphasised that merely hashing passwords is inadequate to deter unauthorised access to plaintext username/password pairs. He further elaborates that cyber attackers could leverage parallel GPUs or sizable botnets involving hundreds of thousands of nodes to try hundreds of billions of password permutations every second.

When these combinations are compromised, it can lead to security breaches that result in significant disruption and can be financially and resourcefully taxing to remedy. While some companies may be able to bounce back from these events, others may not be as fortunate.

Regardless of Their Inconvenience, Passwords Are Not User-Friendly.

Managing multiple passwords for both professional and personal purposes can be challenging. Jotting down confidential details on post-it notes or spreadsheets is not advisable as it elevates the possibility of passwords being hijacked by ill-intentioned individuals.

In the past, password management has been a daunting task. However, recent recommendations to use strong and unique passwords for different websites has made it even more daunting. Sharing passwords with others who may be irresponsible with them, or worse, supplying them to a deceitful individual masquerading as an IT professional, poses a threat even to those who use password managers since it is a form of social engineering.

Businesses that require their personnel to devise and handle passwords are exposing themselves to significant security threats. According to Exabeam, the movement towards removing the need for passwords is growing in prominence, endorsed by technology giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

Passwords Aren’t the Only Means of Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) utilizes multiple techniques to authenticate an individual’s identity. For instance, an internet banking system might necessitate the user’s credentials, such as an ID and password, as well as a code delivered to their phone via SMS. This methodology makes it tremendously arduous for a hacker to access the user’s account, as the latter would need the credentials and physical access to the phone.

With the rise in utilization of various means of authentication, passwords may eventually become outdated. Below are some of the presently employed authentication methods, and more information about a range of such techniques is available in this source.


Biometrics are used to authenticate an individual’s identity. They are user-friendly as we habitually carry them wherever we go.

  • Fingerprints:

    It has been demonstrated that every individual has an exclusive fingerprint, making it an efficient means of validating one’s identity. The Touch ID feature integrated into the iPhone 5S, for instance, is an instance of such authentication technology.
  • Visual auto-identification:

    Facial recognition can be used for authentication purposes on devices such as the Google Pixel smartphone. Users can conveniently access their accounts without entering any codes or recalling complex patterns, simply by holding the device up to their face.
  • Iris-based eye identification technology:

    Similar to facial recognition, this technology verifies identity through an individual’s iris instead of their face.

Instantaneous alerts

Push notification (also known as a “magic link”) authentication is comparable to access code validation in that it mandates a particular mobile device or email account. When users request access to a website, they are sent an activation link via email or text message. Usually, the link becomes inactive either after a certain length of time or it has been utilized.

Keys are prerequisites to unlock the door.

Security keys can connect with other hardware devices through USB-A, USB-C, NFC, and Bluetooth communication protocols. Some security keys come with fingerprint authentication for users seeking a biometric identification solution that is not currently available. Security keys are sleekly designed, and many of them are small enough to fit on a keychain.

Hardware for safety purposes

Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) are tangible instruments created to guard against specific security threats. They are available in various formats, including USB devices, Ethernet appliances, and PCI Express cards. Their function is to safeguard cryptographic keys and facilitate cryptographic operations.

Substitutes for Your Existing Passwords

If your company uses passwords to enter internal systems, it is essential to evaluate the amount of time spent handling and retrieving lost passwords. This can significantly detract from other activities that may be more valuable. If this problem prevails throughout your entire workforce, it could result in the loss of hundreds of hours of productivity every year. This time could be utilized more effectively for research, development and innovation purposes.

If your enterprise develops client applications or software, utilizing passwords may harm customer experience (CX), resulting in decreased loyalty, revenue, and business. Given that passwords are becoming progressively outdated, it is crucial for business leaders to contemplate alternate solutions.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs