After years of working with Internet firms and payments and tech companies to develop its authentication standards, the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance on Wednesday unveiled a Web site to familiarize consumers with its work and a symbol that indicates a Web site or device is using its technology.
The Wakefield, Mass.-based nonprofit has developed technical standards to authenticate users when they attempt to unlock a smart phone or other Internet-connected device, and when they log in to a Web site. The Alliance’s goal is to reduce the use of password-based authentication to thwart data breaches and identity theft. The standards, which have similarities to two-factor or multifactor authentication but don’t put user data on the Internet, employ biometrics, a security key, or a local PIN code.
The new Web site is loginwithFIDO.com, and the symbol is called I-Mark. “As the FIDO standards are reaching a tipping point with widespread adoption among technology companies, it’s a natural next step for us to provide consumers with a place to learn more, and to help companies implement user logins that are easier to use and that keep personal data and information secure in order to instill further trust in their brands,” Andrew Shikiar, executive director and chief marketing officer of the FIDO Alliance, said in a news release. “Soon, when consumers see the I-Mark on the sites they use, they can be confident that they’re getting a common user experience that is easy, trusted, and fully secure.”
Founded in 2012 by Nok Nok Labs, PayPal, Lenovo, and several other tech companies, the FIDO Alliance now claims 250 members. They include Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover in the payments industry as well as Bank of America, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, to name a few. It was not immediately clear how many of the companies already have deployed FIDO technology on their own sites.
As part of the launch of the login site and I-Mark, the FIDO Alliance released results of a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers that found 52% of respondents were using five or fewer passwords across all of their accounts, and 45% of them keep track of those passwords only in their head.
“While most people know they shouldn’t repeatedly use the same password, convenience is currently winning over security,” Shikiar said. “The research tells us that consumers will benefit greatly if they understand FIDO’s technology—marrying convenience with security that goes beyond the ways they are currently managing their passwords.”