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Password-free web security is coming to Chrome, Firefox, Edge

The nightmare of remembering passwords is, hopefully, finally coming to an end with support for two-factor options in browsers.

tokenring9

Maybe smart rings will become more important now that browsers will support authenticating hardware soon.

Scott Stein/CNET

Passwords are problematic, and most people don't manage them properly. An alternative is coming to several major web browsers soon: Google, Mozilla and Microsoft are supporting built-in support for a password-free method of authentication on Chrome, Firefox and Edge browsers in the coming months.

The supported WC3 web authentication API (known as WebAuthn) will be on by default in Chrome and Firefox starting with updates due in May. It will allow security to be managed without usernames and passwords, storing identification data via unique crytopgraphic keys on secondary devices. It will also allow PINs, fingerprints, face scans and other biometric data to give access to sites over a connected device.

Besides reducing the risks of phishing, this will mean greater support for USB, NFC or Bluetooth secondary devices to act as security keys when logging in. Whether that's a phone, a USB authenticator key, or even a smartwatch or a ring, it could help usher in a next wave of wearable security devices in the future.

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