Why We Don't Use Passwords
At Bloo, security is extremely important to us and our customers, and we have a built a password-less system that, paradoxically, increases security for everyone!
That's right, you can sign up and sign in to Bloo without ever creating a password. It's a litte counter-intuitive, but by not having passwords, we can actually build a more secure system! The problem with passowords is not a just technological one, but a human one.
We made the decision not to have the typical approach to user authentication such as an email and password combination, because we are building software for real-world people, and passwords don't really work so well for the average person.
There are a few reasons for this:
- Many people reuse passwords across different systems, which means if any system is compromised, they all are.
- Many people use very easy passwords that can be guessed or cracked, and if we enforce long difficult passwords, many of our customers will need to reset their passwords often as they will forget it. That's not a great experience.
Let's dig a little deeper. 🧐
It's a fact that many people often reuse their passwords across different systems because they cannot remember dozens of different passwords for everything they use in their life, and they either don't know about password managers or they find them to cumbersome or confusing.
This means, for people that reuse the same password across the web, that the security of Bloo not only depends on our own efforts, but we also have to assume that the security of all the other systems that we don't know about has not been compromised.
For us, that's too big a gamble to take with our customer's trust and data.
While we can, of course, try and educate our customers on best-practices for password management, we know that people have better things to worry about (like real life), and so we would rather remove that headache for them completely, instead of giving them one more thing to worry about.
Then, there is the issue of password strength. While there might be a sweet spot between passwords that are not easy to guess, but are still easy to remember, we find that most people tend to go towards passwords that are easy to guess based on personal data.
One final point to note, is that if we have passwords on our systems, we then need to ensure that they are strongly encrypted, and that the database in highly secured and maintained. This gives us one more thing to worry about in our "backend".
By not having passwords, we can spend more time building and innovating on behalf of our customers instead! 😅
When we tell people that Bloo doesn't use passwords, often the first reaction is:
So how does one log in without a password?
The key insight here is that your email address is the glue that holds everything together, because even if we had passwords, we would still need to provide a way for you to reset your password, and this means sending a "Reset Your Password" email to your email.
So this means that:
Email Security = Password Security 🤔
So, essentially, we're skipping this password thing completely.
So all you need to do is:
- Type in your email in the sign up or sign in form.
- Check your email for our login email with the magic link.
- Click on the link, and you're automagically logged in.
Note that the magic link only works for 15 minutes, and only one time. Next time you login, it will be a different magic link.
At the time of writing, we're still on v0.1 ("Angry Antelope"), but we have a few plans for the future in terms of further options and additional security for authentication:
- We'll look into options such as allowing you to login to the web application via the mobile application if you are already logged in to your mobile. This could be via a QR code scan, or perhaps sending a push notification to confirm that you're trying to login.
- We may also add the option for SMS verification instead of email notifications, but there are security issues with some Telcos around the world, that are vunerable to what's called an SS7 attack. So we need to consider that.
- We'll also build out an intelligent system that can understand if someone is trying to get into your account via multiple login attempts, or if there are login attempts that are geographically spread out and close to each other time-wise, that it could not have been you because it would have been impossible to travel that quickly across the world.
- Some additional layers of security when you login from a different city or country than the one you usually login from.
No Passwords...Are you serious about this?
What if someone has access to my email address?
Then they will access to your Bloo account. This would happen even if we had passwords, as they could just reset the password, and then they would be in.
How much time do I have to click on the sign in link?
Fiften minutes, and then the link will expire, and you'll need to request another email. Also, you can only click on the link once, and then it won't work anymore.
What if I don't receive an email?
- Check your SPAM
- Check that you've typed your email in correctly.
- If 20 seconds after you've typed in your email we don't detect that you have logged in, you'll see a message on the login screen asking if you want to resend the email. This will use a different email provider in our system to try and make sure that the email gets to you.
- If you're really having trouble, email us at email@example.com
What happens if I forward a sign in link to someone else?
That would be stupid, as anyone who has the email with the magic link will be able to sign in to your account.
Does this work on the iOS and Android apps?
Just open the link on your phone, and if the app is installed it will magically open and login you in.
I still have more questions!
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer them.