Overview

In April 2018, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) advanced the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) standard to the Candidate Recommendation stage.

This standard defines an application programming interface (API) that can be incorporated into browsers to facilitate public key cryptography-based authentication on laptop and desktop devices. Developed in conjunction with the FIDO Alliance, WebAuthn is a core component of the FIDO2 Project.

Notably, this API offers organizations a framework that can completely obviate passwords in customer authentication, although a number of factors, including customer expectations and hardware limitations, render it unlikely that any organization will eliminate passwords in the near future. Under WebAuthn, the site authenticating the user is able to directly interface with the authenticator, with passwords never making an appearance in the process.