Skip to main content

Major web browsers will support web-based fingerprint, facial authentication

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the entity that maintains the standards used across the internet, said on Monday, April 9, that Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla signed on to support web-based technology for biometric authentication. In other words, Chrome, Edge, and Firefox will soon support signing into online accounts using fingerprint scanners, voice authentication, facial recognition, and so on without additional software. 

The support for biometric logins stems from the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) standard submitted by the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance, another consortium focused on security solutions. It defines how browsers can utilize a component built into web pages that can access biometric-based hardware without any additional software or browser plugins installed on the user’s machine. 

Moreover, WebAuthn supports FIDO’s Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP). This specification enables an external device, such as a security key or smartphone, to authenticate an account or service through USB, Bluetooth, or NFC connectivity. Thus, if your desktop or laptop doesn’t include a fingerprint scanner or infrared camera, an external device could work as a substitute. 

“After years of increasingly severe data breaches and password credential theft, now is the time for service providers to end their dependency on vulnerable passwords and one-time passcodes and adopt phishing-resistant FIDO Authentication for all websites and applications,” Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance, said in a statement. 

Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla (and possibly Opera) are currently adding support for WebAuthn and CTAP in their browsers for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android. Meanwhile, both specifications are now available for developers and service designers to support web-based biometric authentication. The move will help reduce or possibly prevent phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and credential theft. 

WebAuthn and CTAP are part of the FIDO2 Project. WebAuthn is actually a collaboration between FIDO and the W3C based on the latter’s Web API specification. WebAuthn is specifically designed to use FIDO Authentication and is backed by more than 260 FIDO members including ARM, Google, Intel, Lenovo, MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal, Qualcomm, Samsung, Visa, and many more. 

The new specifications are backward-compatible with FIDO’s current authentication platforms: The password-free FIDO UAF and the second-factor FIDO U2F services. Both rely on biometric authentication, but the FIDO UAF version resides within an app or program and relies on a device that is registered with a website or service. The second version relies on a USB stick or NFC connection to serve as part two of a two-step authentication process. 

“FIDO will soon launch interoperability testing and will issue certifications for servers, clients, and authenticators adhering to FIDO2 specifications,” W3C adds. “Additionally, FIDO will introduce a new Universal Server certification for servers that interoperate with all FIDO authenticator types.” 

The move to use biometric authentication seeks to eliminate the need for login credentials when purchasing goods online, signing onto streaming services, and so on. Currently, many Windows 10 devices let you sign in using a finger or face via Windows Hello. Other examples include fingerprint scanners built into Apple and Samsung’s smartphones used for unlocking the devices and authorizing logins and payments. 

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
Lenovo sale: Get up to 67% off ThinkPad Laptops, from $600
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 front angled view showing display and keyboard.

Lenovo has a huge laptop sale going on right now with select ThinkPad laptops available from just $600. If you need a new system for your small business, working on the move, or other productivity-focused plans, these are the laptop deals for you. With over a dozen laptops in the sale, it’s a good idea to take a look at the sale for yourself, but we’re also here with some insight into the best deals.

What to shop for in the Lenovo laptop sale
Lenovo is one of the best laptop brands for reliability and business purposes. One great starting point is being able to buy the for $600. According to Lenovo, it normally costs $1,839 which seems a little unrealistic but in keeping with Lenovo’s overly enthusiastic estimated value system. However, whatever the discount, this is a good laptop for the price. It has a 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1235U processor, 16GB of memory, and 256GB of SSD storage. For the display, you get a 14-inch full HD screen with 45% NTSC and 300 nits of brightness. There’s also a 1080p full HD RGB/IR Hybrid webcam with a privacy shutter and dual microphones.

Read more
Ghost of Tsushima is already shaping up to be a monster PC port
Jin wearing the Sarugami armor with Iki island in the background.

Sony detailed the features that will be available in the Ghost of Tsushima PC port on Tuesday, setting the stage for when the game launches on May 16. Despite some rocky PC ports from PlayStation Studios and porting studio Nixxes in the past, Ghost of Tsushima already looks impressive.
Ghost of Tsushima DLSS, FSR, and XeSS
It's launching with all of the modern bells and whistles a PC gamer could want. That includes support for Nvidia's DLSS 3 and AMD's FSR 3, both of which support upscaling and frame generation. There's also support for Intel XeSS, as well as native anti-aliasing modes for FSR and DLSS. This runs the game at native resolution but uses the anti-aliasing of the upscalers for improved image quality -- read our explainer on Nvidia Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing for more on that.

There's a treasure trove of features here that means virtually every PC gamer will have access to performance-boosting tech. FSR 3 support at launch is particularly noteworthy. Adoption of AMD's frame generation tech has been slow, and although we've seen it in recent games, it usually isn't available at launch.

Read more
The 5 best laptops for architects in 2024
AutoCAD

Architecture applications tend to require a lot of hardware resources, so laptops that work for architecture tend to be more like workstations than anything else. Of course, that does mean that they come at a pretty steep price, which is why we've picked our favorite laptops that will give you the most bang for your buck. The laptops below should easily handle most architecture applications you throw at them, although if you don't quite find what you're looking for, you may want to check out our list of the best laptops for CAD and 3D modeling.
The Best Laptops for Architects in 2024

Buy the  if you want the best overall laptop for architects
Buy the  if you want the best MacBook for architects
Buy the  if you want the best thin and portable laptop for architects
Buy the  if you want the best large-screen laptop for architects
Buy the  if you want the best dual-screen laptop for architects

Read more