Safari browser on iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur has gained a slew of new features. According to Apple’s beta release notes, the Safari browser is all set to offer Face ID or Touch ID support on supported websites.
The feature is based on WebAuthn which is part of the FIDO2 standard. It is developed by the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) alliance and is aimed at making it easier to log in to services. iOS already offers a way for users to log in or authenticate themselves on apps and features by using Touch ID or Face ID. However, the current method is based on using biometrics along with autofill.
Apart from convenience, the WebAuthn method is also much more secure. It is arguably better than passwords and not easily susceptible to phishing attacks. The feature works by using public-key cryptography and can be used with biometrics or other ways of authentication. Meanwhile, websites have to add support to the feature individually.
iOS, iPadOS, macOS users will be able to drastically reduce their reliance on passwords once the new way of login is added. Apple recently joined the FIDO Alliance and is working towards adopting the U2F standard across all devices. This is pretty much similar to how Google login works in the Android ecosystem.
Last year, the Safari browser on iOS 13.3 added support for FIDO2 standard. The security keys offer better protection since the hacker needs to gain access to your key. This is possible only if the hacker has physical access to your device. In other words, the possibility of a remote attack would get reduced considerably after adapting the FIDO2 standard.[via Beta Release Notes]