Firefox has gone though some revisions and updates since its inception. 60 iterations to be exact. This most recent revision, Firefox 60, will now allow you to login to websites without a password. Even though this seems like a ploy to help sell your data, it’s a new authentication technology that could help thwart phishing attacks and improve your own data security. Web Authentication, or WebAuthn, can be used to allow repeat access to websites you’ve visited with a physical authentication device, biometric scanning (fingerprint reader), or facial recognition software.
Passwords alone are the crux of identification and authentication issues for several reasons. Countless malvertisements, malicious redirections, fake websites, and other forms of malware can coax you into typing out your own credentials. In this way, you are literally giving away your information on your own accord due to lack of suspicion or naivety. These ruses are even becoming more sophisticated and cunning which make even the most skeptical person question its genuineness. This act is called phishing and its happening at an ever-increasing rate. Regardless of what you do, passwords will eventually become obsolete due to their hackable frailty.
WebAuthn is one tool trying to make the first step into a post-password future, working with USB security keys like YubiKey to be used in lieu of or in addition to a typed password. Firefox 60 is the first browser to support this technology and should certainly improve web authentication methods and security. Imagine in the future, to login to your online bank account, you can have a camera always providing facial recognition access, a physical USB access key connected to your personal computer, and a keyboard with native fingerprint authentication as you type. That’s three factors of authentication that requires you to be present in a specific location on a specific device without having to remember a password that can be easily changed or hacked. It would be tough to get more secure than that and you don’t have to do anything to securely login to the site.
In addition to making the initial steps of increasing authentication without passwords, Firefox is also introducing the speed enhancements of Quantum to the mobile application on Android phones. Stylo is a feature to speed up CSS formatting on websites and is a large piece of the Quantum upgrade speed improvement. Mobile devices with multiple cores and optimized for low power consumption will see the major effects of this speed increase.
It appears as though Mozilla may now have a web browser that could overthrow Google’s in popularity. They are definitely stepping up their game in appealing to users through massive improvements.