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Meta is rolling out passkey support for WhatsApp on Android

WhatsApp passkey

Social media giant, Meta, is set to introduce passkey support for WhatsApp on Android. This support will enable WhatsApp users to unlock their accounts using their face, fingerprint, or PIN

Announcing this change, the Head of WhatsApp at Meta, Will Cathcart, said passkey is a more secure way to confirm ownership of an account as opposed to using passwords. He said the feature also gives users an added layer of security.

The company said the feature will be rolled out globally in the next few weeks and users will be able to set the passkey feature up on WhatsApp during registration, or from Settings.

By enabling passkey logins, WhatsApp users will make it harder for hackers to remotely access their accounts since they would also need physical access to their phones. Passkeys are a relatively new technology that removes the need to rely on username and password combinations, which can be susceptible to phishing and other issues.

Passkeys to replace passwords across apps

Earlier. Google said it has started rolling out passkeys which can be used to sign in to its apps and websites instead of passwords. This came as global tech giants continued the push to phase out the use of passwords completely across apps.

According to the Google, passkeys are the easiest and most secure way to sign in and will now replace the use of passwords, which people often find difficult to remember.  While noting that the change may not come easy for many people, Google said passwords and two-step verification (2SV) will still work for Google Accounts for now. It hinted, however, that by next year when World Password Day is being celebrated, passwords may have been completely phased out.

Google added that Google Workspace account administrators will soon have the option to enable passkeys for their end-users during sign-in.


The alliance

Last year, Microsoft, Google, and Apple announced they were collaborating to create a new world where passwords will not be needed to access devices, webs, or apps. The three organizations said they were working to expand support for a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium.

The three organizations in a joint statement announcing the alliance said:

  • “Password-only authentication is one of the biggest security problems on the web, and managing so many passwords is cumbersome for consumers, which often leads consumers to reuse the same ones across services.
  • “This practice can lead to costly account takeovers, data breaches, and even stolen identities. While password managers and legacy forms of two-factor authentication offer incremental improvements, there has been industry-wide collaboration to create sign-in technology that is more convenient and more secure.”
  • “The expanded standards-based capabilities will give websites and apps the ability to offer an end-to-end passwordless option. Users will sign in through the same action that they take multiple times each day to unlock their devices, such as a simple verification of their fingerprint or face, or a device PIN. This new approach protects against phishing and sign-in will be radically more secure when compared to passwords and legacy multi-factor technologies such as one-time passcodes sent over SMS,” they added.


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