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What is FIDO2 and Its Benefits

  • June 15, 2021
  • Topics: Locks

VeriMark Guard on white background

Biometric identification has shown technological potential for almost 150 years. From the first days of imperfect measurements to today's advanced, automated systems, the technology is set to reshape the cybersecurity and access control landscape.

Like most other emerging technologies, biometric identification matured over the last fifty years, with the latest systems making biometrics your best password. The new FIDO2 standard is the latest version of passwordless authentication and provides secure matching of user biometric templates data.

What is FIDO2?

The Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance launched in 2013 to develop and promote new authentication standards and end our reliance on passwords. In an online world where many companies now rely on resources working worldwide, cybersecurity remains one of the biggest risks facing every organization today.

FIDO2 is the latest biometric identification security standard published by the alliance, aiming to improve the architecture behind its current protocols. Cybercriminals have multiple ways to discover your credentials, but biometric authentication using the FIDO2 implementation will make it much harder for attacks to succeed. The FIDO2 standard gained broad acceptance across mobile, desktop, and server systems since its release in 2018.

FIDO vs FIDO2 and WebAuthn

By 2014, the FIDO Alliance published their first specification. It included two main components, the Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) and a Universal 2nd Factor (U2F). Of these two, the U2F was significant, as it required biometric identification system manufacturers to store private encryption keys exclusively on the scanning device. Without transmitting the information, an encrypted U2F device limits the ability of hackers to intercept your data.

The first FIDO specification enabled organizations to implement the UAF protocol for passwordless and Multifactor Authentication (MFA) on their sites. FIDO2 is a combination of a hardware specification and software protocol between the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C controls the WebAuthn protocol's implementation using a web API, and it combines a public and private key and asymmetric cryptography to authenticate users for encrypting and decrypting a user's access information.

FIDO2: WebAuthn and CTAP

The Client-to-Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) is the major component of the FIDO2 specification. For FIDO2 authenticators, the CTAP standard describes all Universal Serial Bus (USB), Near Field Communications (NFC), and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) requirements. Conversely, the WebAuthn protocol enables online services to authenticate users using the CTAP protocol.

With FIDO2 implementations, users gain:

  • Added security – Your cryptographic login credentials remain unique across all websites and online services. Personal information stays on the user's device, eliminating the risk of phishing and other forms of password theft.
  • Increased convenience – Users have a simple built-in mechanism like a fingerprint scanner to provide fast, secure, and convenient access to online services.
  • Enhanced privacy – Cryptographic keys are unique for every website, giving users added privacy as sites cannot track you across the web.
  • Enterprise scalability – The implementation of the WebAuthn and FIDO2 specifications use a JavaScript API suitable for most browsers and platforms available today.

FIDO2 for Biometric Authentication

A rise in cybercrime and the need for remote work are putting cybersecurity teams under immense pressure. For organizations, the need for FIDO2 and WebAuthn access controls will only increase in the future. A reliance on passwords is putting every organization at risk while workers need access to their line of business applications from anywhere.

The latest cloud services options enable organizations to deploy biometric authentication for all business-related access on host joined to a hybrid or cloud domain service. Even if a single computer does experience a breach, access to the organization's data and systems remains protected without the FIDO2 encrypted biometric authentication protocols.

FIDO2 and the New Standard for Web Logins

To help prevent online fraud and cybercrime, companies deployed a host of different Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) methods. While these solutions did make systems like online banking and other services more secure, they weren't without their faults. Biometric identification using FIDO2 is set to replace passwords and 2FA systems like SMS codes, push apps and dial-in numbers, helping secure online access to any kind of system or service.

FIDO2 is gaining acceptance with users too by changing perceptions and alleviating some of their major concerns about online security. The technology provides greater convenience to users, helps security teams improve their defenses, and enables online services to secure their user's access information.

Using FIDO2 in Small Deployments

Secure and convenient authentication is no longer just the purview of large enterprises. Any sized organization can deploy FIDO2 biometric authentication solutions like the VeriMark™ IT Fingerprint Key. Apart from the added security and user convenience, it uses the latest encryption to help protect your users' access information on private security keys.

For any sized organization, improving cybersecurity starts with implementing a FIDO2 authentication system for all business-critical information. With support for Windows Hello, Azure, Active Directory, and Office365, biometric fingerprint identification is the most secure way to limit access to your business information. Organizations can adopt FIDO2 and WebAuthn technologies for all their access control and user authentication needs quickly using the latest specifications.

Say Hello to the Passwordless Web with VeriMark IT Fingerprint Key

Businesses had to react quickly to keep staff productive while working from non-traditional environments. Inside the corporate network, security is easier to control, and teams can vet every connected device using specific policies. Once users moved outside of this network, the risks grow exponentially.

The VeriMark™ IT Fingerprint Key includes all the latest cryptographic identification capabilities, enabling you to secure all your business systems. Workers can log in from anywhere without weakening your cybersecurity perimeter.

The VeriMark™ IT Fingerprint Key's features are:

  • Integration with the latest Windows authentication technologies making it ideal for any scale deployment.
  • Support for FIDO2 and WebAuthn standards to keep information securely stored on the local device.
  • Superior biometric performance from 360° readability and anti-spoofing technologies with a False-Rejection Rate (FFR) of 2%, exceeding industry standards.
  • A robust and durable design with a convenient LED accept or reject indicator and a flared tail that provides easy grip.

Secure FIDO2 Access Solutions from Kensington

The concerns around cybersecurity will only increase in the future. Organizations that depend on their employees' secure access will need to deploy the latest biometric and passwordless solutions to ensure they remain secure. With an integrated Fingerprint Key, any company can secure its business systems and provide safe access to any employee from every kind of workstation.

To help keep your employee's devices and information secure, check out these solutions from Kensington.

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