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Forgotten Your Password? Not Having One Will Make You Safer, Says World Economic Forum

Published
21 Jan 2020
2020
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Oliver Cann, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, +41 79 799 3405, oliver.cann@weforum.org

  • Four out of five global data breaches are perpetrated from weak and stolen passwords, driving the rising cost of cybercrime
  • Average annual large company spend on password resets is over $1 million
  • Six principles proposed to guide and advocate the adoption of a passwordless future
  • To find out more about the World Economic Forum’s work on building a passwordless future, visit https://www.weforum.org/centre-for-cybersecurity
  • For more information, please visit www.weforum.org. Share on social media using the hashtag #wef20

Geneva, Switzerland, 21 January 2020 – A new report released by the World Economic Forum finds that freeing ourselves of passwords will actually make us safer and businesses more efficient. Cybercrime is set to cost the global economy $2.9 million every minute in 2020 and some 80% of these attacks are password-related. Knowledge-based authentication – whether with PINs, passwords, passphrases, or whatever we need to remember – is not only a major headache for users, it is costly to maintain. For larger businesses, it is estimated that nearly 50% of IT help desk costs are allocated to password resets, with average annual spend for companies now at over $1 million for staffing alone.

Passwordless authentication does not mean removing all security barriers to our digitalized society. It means harnessing tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to save users time and save company money.

“With the growing availability of biometrics and next-generation technology consumers are demanding a better digital experience while wanting to be secure online,” said Adrien Ogee, Project Lead, Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust, World Economic Forum. “Better authentication practices are not just possible they are a necessity.”

The report, produced in collaboration with the FIDO Alliance, introduces five top passwordless authentication technologies, ready for implementation by global companies. They are biometrics, behavioural analytics, zero-knowledge proofs, QR codes and security keys.

“Relying on passwords as the primary means for authentication no longer provides the security or user experience that consumers demand,” said Andrew Shikiar, Executive Director and Chief Marketing Officer of the FIDO Alliance. “The path forward is with standards-based, cryptographically secure authentication that keeps login info secure and private, while providing a fundamentally better user experience.”

Passwordless Authentication: The next breakthrough in secure digital transformation is part of the Future of Authentication project led by the Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust.

Global enterprises and public bodies can engage in this important strategic issue via the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust at https://www.weforum.org/centre-for-cybersecurity.

About the Annual Meeting 2020:
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 will take place on 21-24 January 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The meeting brings together more than 3,000 global leaders from politics, government, civil society, academia, the arts and culture as well as the media. Convening under the theme, Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World, participants will focus on defining new models for building sustainable and inclusive societies in a plurilateral world. For further information, please click here.

All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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