We’ve heard the instructions for creating a secure password over and over again but now we’re presented with new passkey technology to protect our accounts from the evil eye—Passkey vs password, what’s the difference? The traditional word-number-symbol passwords are a familiar sight and have been in use since the inception of the internet when we began to have our own accounts on various websites. Passkeys are a relatively newer concept and utilize biometric authentication or a PIN on a trusted device to allow access to your data without having to remember a password. The Passkey vs password comparison is something everyone should consider in order to determine how to best protect their data at a time when hackers at large are exploring every potential means of accessing information.

Passwords and passkeys can both provide some degree of security to your personal information so an informed choice of what works for you may be overdue.

 Passkey vs password

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Passkey vs Password, Which is the Best Way to Secure Your Data?

When you have something to keep safe, the best strategy is to put a lock on it. When you want to access it again, you use your key to open it up. If the lock is flimsy and the key flimsier, then it’s going to be easy for someone with a lockpick and some patience to jiggle the lock loose and get into your data. If you use the same key for all of your locks, then depending on how long you take to notice the invasion, the outsider has time to go through all of your storage one by one. 

Passwords work similarly, providing a way for you to secure your information. The more high-tech your lock and key, the safer your information is. Sometimes we add in two-factor authentications and Time-based One-Time Passwords to make it safer, and those elements are quite useful in adding an additional layer of security.

The difference between passwords and passkeys is that there are two halves to the information needed to log into your account. One half of it is given to the website or app that you’re trying to secure, with their servers maintaining that section of the data, while the other half is stored on your primary access device. To log in, both sections of the key are necessary to make it happen. Since their introduction, passkeys have been considered the safer alternative and between passwords and passkeys you would be much better off considering the latter for your authentication processes. Exploring the features of both services might help the decision-making process easier.

Passkey vs Password: Ease of Use

Passwords need to be remembered in case you need to log in on a new device. They have to be unique in nature and complex enough to make it difficult for an outsider to guess it. When you use the same device for all your log-ins, it’s easy enough to just click on “stay signed in” and leave it at that. However, if you ever want to log in on your friends’ system or use the school computer to check your email, you’ll often have to recollect your password.

Passkeys eliminate the need for you to remember any passwords. The unique keyphrase used to secure your account is stored on your system and all you need is for your primary login device and your physical presence to provide biometric data like facial recognition data or a fingerprint. Apple and Google both provide passkey services that are easy to set up and try out. In the passkey vs password comparison, the latter is much easier to use.

Passkeys and Passwords Difference In Security

While making a passkey vs password comparison, the complexity of the password comes into play. While you might be prompted to create a complex password, you’re more likely to create one that you can remember in a pinch. The words and phrases will always have some relevance to you, so the combination of letters, numbers, and symbols will always be simple. 

Passkeys are often much longer and are made up of a random collection of letters. Considering that you don’t have to try and remember them, they can be as complex as necessary, increasing safety and decreasing the likelihood that someone will be able to guess it or duplicate it. These passkeys are uniquely created for each website so all your accounts remain locked behind different keys, even if one of them was somehow compromised.

Protection From Data Breaches: Passkey vs Password

If a company is attacked by outsiders and user data is leaked, the hacker gets access to the user ID and password both, which means all the data is theirs for the taking. Regardless of how strong the password is, a data breach at the company can put your information at risk.

In comparison, a passkey requires your private key or authentication to open up access to the account. As long as your device remains with you and if you have biometric checks to unlock the account, the attacker cannot do anything with the information that they obtained during the breach.

The differences between passkeys and passwords might seem minor at first glance but there is a notable improvement in security when you use passkeys. If you’re nervous about abandoning the password system that you’re already quite familiar with, then you should know that we still have some time with password-protected accounts since the internet has been slow to make the shit towards passkeys. Until websites force you to consider the alternatives, you can understand the passkey systems a little bit better and look for services like Dashlane that can help you understand passwords and passkeys, and get familiar with using them a little more easily. Hardware-bound passkeys add an additional layer of security if that’s something you want to explore further as well.