The password is weak. It can get stolen from insecure web services, copied by a sharp-eyed thief while you type it in, or even just plain forgotten. A new service from Bellevue, Wash-based authentication provider Auth0 lets developers forgo the password altogether in favor of emails, texts and Apple’s Touch ID.
Passwordless, introduced today, builds on Auth0’s plug-and-play authentication platform, which lets developers add high levels of security with just a few lines of code by leveraging existing verification options.
The new Passwordless option sends users a one-time code or “magic link” that verifies a user’s identity. Developers can add this new option to web sites, desktop programs or mobile apps. iOS developers can even use Auth0’s Passwordless to add Touch ID logins to apps for the iPhone and iPad. Passwordless is included in every Auth0 plan, so it doesn’t cost developers extra to implement the service.
This way of eliminating passwords may sound familiar. Apps like Slack and Medium use links sent to users’ emails to let people log in without a password. Twitter allows users to sign in with a code sent over SMS. But Auth0 CEO Jon Gelsey said we shouldn’t start mourning the password just yet.
“The password isn’t dead.” he said. “In some cases, the password is the best solution. In many other cases, passwordless is the best solution. Regardless of going with a password or passwordless, I should be using multifactor authentication, checking other factors than just the password or one-time code if I’m truly concerned about the security of my users.”
Passwordless is also meant for a more app-like experience. But if users are supposed to log in to a site every time they visit, Passwordless might get cumbersome. A developer doesn’t necessarily want to send a user out to their email every time they need to access an app or website.
Auth0 raised $6.9 million in June to help app developers simplify user logins. The startup has been working on Passwordless for the last three months, working on coordinating all the moving parts that make password-free logins feel seamless.