“Passwords are the weak security link on the web”
The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, is the body that designs the standards for the web and makes sure that they are implemented properly. W3C is currently looking at a new method for online users to authenticate themselves so that the traditional password can be replaced – because W3C believes that passwords are “the weak security link on the web”.
This new standard is called WebAuthn (an abbreviation of Web Authentication) and is based to a large extent on the current two-step verification mechanisms. For example, instead of entering a password, the user establishes his or her credentials by entering a unique secret code sent to his or her smartphone. Another possibility: using a personal and secure USB thumb drive which, when it is plugged in, authenticates the user’s identity. These are just some of the paths the W3C is exploring to put an end to the use of passwords.
Use strong passwords to keep your accounts secure
It is true to say that a weak password (such as “abc123”) provides the ideal (and easy) way for hackers to access your details and accounts, as demonstrated by this survey by Test Achats into connected objects.
However, it is difficult to keep coming up with strong, unique passwords that you can remember for each of your accounts. A password manager can help you to do this, though: this is a sort of “strongbox” for your passwords that generates and retrieves them automatically. Two-step verification, when available, is also an excellent way to foil the efforts of the hackers: because even if they find out your password, they still come up against a second barrier, which is much more difficult to overcome.
So, while waiting for a whole new standard such as WebAuthn to arrive, make sure your accounts are as secure as possible. And to do that, start by strengthening their greatest weak spot: their password.