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Passwords aren’t effective at stopping data breaches. At least that’s the position of the FIDO Alliance and companies like Microsoft and Google. With more than 15 billion stolen passwords exposed online, it’s hard to disagree with them. 

The anti-password movement is becoming so strong that even password management vendors are beginning to experiment with passwordless authentication options. 1Password recently announced the acquisition of passwordless authentication provider Passage for an undisclosed amount. The organization also announced that it plans to create a new passwordless authentication platform to help enterprises secure user access, potentially leveraging Passage’s biometric authentication capabilities.  

1Password hopes the new solution will accelerate the adoption of passkeys so that users can login with a seamless user experience while minimizing their exposure to phishing attacks. 

Moving toward a passwordless future 

The announcement comes as demand for passwordless authentication continues to grow among organizations, with a new Bitwarden survey showing that out of 800 IT decision makers, roughly half plan to deploy passwordless technology.

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One of the reasons for the high interest in adoption is the increase in phishing scams. Research shows the number of monthly attacks doubled from approximately 40,000 in May 2020 to over 100,000 in April 2022. These scams are increasingly common because it only takes an employee to click on a link or attachment in a phishing email to enable a threat actor to infect their device with malware and harvest their login credentials. 

A true passwordless future has the potential to nullify credential theft altogether.

“1Password is focused on empowering companies and consumers to have safer and simpler digital experiences. As the world evolves, that means helping companies and consumers navigate all the complexities on the path to a passwordless future,” said Jeff Shiner, CEO of 1Password. 

“With today’s Passage acquisition, we are committing to giving businesses and end users what they want and deserve: the convenience of passwordless without compromising security,” Shiner said. 

A look at the passwordless authentication market 

The development of passwordless authentication solutions is accelerating rapidly, with researchers anticipating that it will increase from a value of $12.8 billion in 2021 to reach a value of $53.6 billion by 2030. 

1Password is just one of many password management vendors recognizing the need to move away from password-based security. In fact, earlier this year, password management provider LastPass announced it had added a new passwordless sign-in option for its flagship product, LastPass Vault. The new feature enables users to login with the LastPass Authenticator app for iOS and Android. 

Another competitor implementing passwordless authentication is Bitwarden, which recently raised $100 million in funding. Bitwarden’s flagship password manager offers users biometric login options such as Touch ID that are FIDO2 compliant. 

At this point, it remains to be seen how 1Password’s passwordless offering will be differentiated from other providers, but what is clear is that even password management vendors are looking to decrease reliance on login credentials.

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