Back in October, Google rolled out Passkey support to Chrome Canary – the beta version of Chrome that lets advanced users experiment with new features. Now, the company’s announced that the latest stable version of Chrome (v108) is getting it as well. Google’s latest blog says: “With the latest version of Chrome, we’re enabling passkeys on Windows 11, macOS, and Android.” Meanwhile, on desktop, you can choose to use a passkey from your nearby mobile device, which can be both iOS and Android.
If the passkey update has reached your device, Chrome will ask if you want to use a passkey to login to a supported site or stick with passwords. The former will require screen lock authentication – fingerprint or facial unlock.
Passkeys are the next step in the evolution of secure logins. While a strong password is the first line of defence against data breaches, they are at risk of being stolen from your end or the server end. Passkeys eliminate such vulnerabilities. Instead of having two copies of the same password (one with the user and one with the server), the user’s device is assigned a unique passkey called the private key.
Then there’s a second key called the public key with the server. The two work together to authenticate a user into supported sites and apps.
In the event that a server breach does happen, the hacker will not have your private key. And on the user end, passkeys can’t be phished since they require the user’s phone to be physically present.
But perhaps the biggest advantage passkeys offer is the fact that there’s no remembering involved. Remembering passwords can be difficult when you have a unique one for each website/app (as you should). Password managers can help with that, but as it’s been proven multiple times this year itself, they are not infallible.