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. 

Gaming

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.
Mobile

Having trouble logging in? Here's how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.
Computing

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.
Computing

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Fix those internet dead zones by turning an old router into a Wi-Fi repeater

Is there a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home or office? A Wi-Fi repeater can help. Don't buy a new one, though. Here is how to extend Wi-Fi range with another router you have lying around.