January 22, 2020

Davos: World Economic Forum Points to FIDO as Viable Alternative to Passwords

Andrew Shikiar, executive director and CMO, FIDO Alliance

A new paper from the World Economic Forum (WEF) showcases FIDO Authentication as a ready-to-be-implemented option to save organizations the high costs and user experience frustrations of passwords. The paper was released this week during the WEF annual meeting in Davos.

The paper, Passwordless Authentication: The next breakthrough in secure digital transformation, was developed in collaboration with the FIDO Alliance and includes contributions from many of our members including Aetna/CVS Health, Google, HYPR, Intuit, Microsoft, Nok Nok, Onfido, Trusona, the UK government and Yubico.  

According to the report, ending our reliance on passwords can make us safer and businesses more efficient. Cybercrime is set to cost the global economy $2.9 million every minute in 2020 and some 80% of these attacks are password-related. Knowledge-based authentication like passwords is not only a major headache for users, it is costly to maintain. For larger businesses, it is estimated that nearly 50% of IT help desk costs are allocated to password resets, with average annual spend for companies now at over $1 million for staffing alone.

The lead of the project, Adrien Ogee, Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust, World Economic Forum, points out in a press release accompanying the paper that “better authentication practices are not just possible they are a necessity.” The possibility of moving beyond passwords is more real than ever as the growing availability of next generation, FIDO-based technologies like biometrics and security keys can meet consumer demands for both user convenience and security. There are several mini case studies from our members in the report that highlight their use today, and the benefits they are seeing. A few examples:

  • A mid-sized U.S. retail bank saved more than $2.9 million annually and saved customers up to 30% in time to finish a payment (Source: Nok Nok)
  • A U.S. financial software company brought its authentication success rate to 99.9% and reduced sign in time by 78% (Source: Intuit)
  • Google’s internal use of FIDO security keys dropped total time spent authenticating by nearly two-thirds, and they experienced zero authentication failures

It’s validating to see WEF not only educate world leaders on the economic impact of our legacy authentication practices, but to recognize that there are viable alternatives that are ready to implement today. With cryptographically secure and convenient FIDO Authentication now supported in all major web browsers as well as Android and Windows platforms, there is no reason to delay — now is the time to move past passwords and embrace simpler, stronger authentication.

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