Why haven't asymmetrical keys replaced passwords yet?

imagined security scheme:
1.Generate public/private key pair
2. share public key when creating account with whomever.
3. when logging in, account will send you random string
4. your browser will encrypt string with private key
5. account will decrypt string with your public key, if it is the same string they sent, you are authenticated.

- The biggest problem I see with this is not wanting to use unsecure computers because you would have to share your private key with that computer to log on, but the same could be said for passwords.

- convincing people to carry around a usb stick containing keys seems much easier than convincing them to choose and track dozens of hard to guess/bruteforcable passwords.

@zacharius The two issues I see with this is that 1) people are totally going to lose their USBs -- so then they're screwed. 2) USB sticks are a super easy to inject malicious code into a new computer. I've heard of companies with software that auto-formats USB devices upon being plugged into the computer.

How are you seeing this model as more secure than a password manager?

Keys beat passwords because I don't have to trust a 3rd party with my private key, like I do my passwords. Smart companies store hashes instead of keys anyway but I don't want to have to trust that companies have sane security practices.

Also it is much more manageable to keep track of a keypair than dozen of passwords. I am relatively educated on security and I still reuse most of my passwords. It's not functional to maintain sane security across dozens of account with passwords

@zacharius @sgparent a key is just one factor authentication. The key needs to be protected with a password to actually provide increased security.


@octesian @zacharius I was mostly replying to the idea of keeping this smart card as a USB-based drive.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Refactor Camp

Mastodon instance for attendees of Refactor Camp, and members of various online/offline groups that have grown out of it. Related local groups with varying levels of activity exist in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Austin.

Kinda/sorta sponsored by the Ribbonfarm Blogamatic Universe.

If you already know a few people in this neck of the woods, try and pick a handle they'll recognize when you sign up. Please note that the registration confirmation email may end up in your spam folder, so check there. It should come from administrator Zach Faddis.