SWITCH edu-ID: Into a future without passwords

Most major identity providers require that you enter your email address and password in separate login windows when you sign in to a service. The vision behind this is a future without passwords.

Testo: Rolf Brugger, pubblicato il 13.09.2023

Many identity providers, including Google, Microsoft and Apple, only ask for your email address when you sign in. It is only at a later stage - if at all - that you are asked to enter your password. What seems more complicated at first glance makes sense on closer inspection. This is how providers are preparing for a password-free future.

The future is now at SWITCH

The SWITCH edu-ID login window has been upgraded and prepared for a password-free world. Since 9 August 2023, the e-mail address and password are now entered in two consecutive login windows.

This is an important change since SWITCH edu-ID will support passkeys (see box) as a passwordless login method in the near future. As soon as this is the case, you will see a note in the login window visualised above that you can activate passkeys.

Which login method do you prefer?

In the future, you will be able to decide whether you want to log in without a password using passkeys or whether you still want to use a password and a second factor. To do this, SWITCH edu-ID first needs to know who is logging in in order to decide which login method this person prefers.

You can look forward to this: Passkeys will not only simplify your live, they will also increase the security with SWITCH edu-ID.

Rolf   Brugger

Rolf Brugger

Before joining SWITCH, Rolf Brugger worked as an Advisor and Product Manager at the Swiss Virtual Campus. He is now the Product Manager SWITCH edu-ID.


What are passkeys?

Passkeys are an internationally recognised security standard. The FIDO Alliance has developed this modern, open and multi-vendor authentication method.

A passkey consists of a pair of public and private keys. The public key is registered with the website or application you are using, while the private key is stored exclusively on your device. This creates a strong, confidential relationship between your device and the website or application you are using.

Passkeys act as passwords, with the advantage that they remain stored on your device and never need to be exchanged with the web service. Your device authenticates itself by proving that it has the private key, but without revealing it.

So not only are passkeys a more convenient way to log in than passwords, they are also much more secure. In particular, passkeys protect you from threats such as phishing.

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