Safari Offers Safer Browsing with a USB Authentication Key

By Bill Toulas / December 6, 2018

Safari has added support for the WebAuthentication API in its latest preview version 71, which is a precursor of what is to come in the future versions of Apple’s browser. This API allows users to enjoy a much safer and secure browsing experience with the help of a USB CTAP2 stick. These “key-sticks” essentially replace text-based passwords with strongly hashed keys. If combined with a two-step authentication (hardware + password), then a person can have the ultimate protection against hacking and phishing.

This method of authentication has already shown a great deal of effectiveness, as Google has utilized their own USB keys (Titan) in their offices and declare a complete cut in phishing attacks on more than 85000 of its employees. Google is even planning to develop a Bluetooth version of the dongle key. Of course, all this splendor is tightly accompanied by the practical hindrances of having to carry the USB key with you at all times, being careful of not losing it anywhere, etc.

Although the support for the API is still experimental in Safari, the feature is likely to see implementation soon in the stable development branch of the browser. Apple doesn’t have much more time to waste on this matter as Firefox and Chrome support the WebAuth API since May, and users seem to be increasingly concerned on matters of security. If you want to give Preview 71 a spin and see if it works for you, you can get if from the WebKit downloads page.

Have you tried the Safari Preview 71? Let us know how it went in the comments below, and don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter, so you don’t miss out on fresh tech news.

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