Better than passwords? Yes, say Lenovo and Intel.

Lenovo, the world’s No. 2 PC manufacturer, and Intel are teaming up to offer new online authentication in a move designed to crack down on hacking and data breaches.

With the touch of a finger …

“Instead of depending on passwords as the sole credential for logging into websites, users now have a safer way to log in with the touch of a finger on the integrated fingerprint reader through Universal Authentication Framework (UAF), or the click of a real-time, on screen button through Universal 2nd Factor (U2F). With these integrated FIDO authenticators, websites use security keys that are protected and rooted deeply in the PC’s hardware, ultimately increasing user protection and reducing fraud,” Lenovo explains.

FIDO’s backing

The partners are utilizing online authenticators certified by FIDO, the Fast IDentity Online Alliance.

“I am thrilled to see the realization of this partnership between FIDO Alliance board members Intel and Lenovo, which resulted in the PC industry’s first FIDO-enabled embedded fingerprint and now includes support for all FIDO protocols on several new leading PC models,” said Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance, in Tuesday’s announcement.

“Today’s news reinforces FIDO authentication as the de facto standard technology to move the world beyond passwords, across all internet-connected devices: PCs, mobile, and IoT.”

FIDO is an industry consortium launched in 2013 to address the lack of interoperability among strong authentication tools.

Touch of a finger

Lenovo says it is the first PC company to include the FIDO-certified technology for Windows PCs.

“Instead of relying just on passwords, users now have a safer way to log into websites with the touch of a finger on an integrated fingerprint reader or a quick click of a button in real-time,” Lenovo notes.

The move comes as the number of hacks and data breaches continues to increase worldwide. Lenovo notes that 81 percent of data breaches in 2016 involved default or stolen passwords.

“Going online has become an indispensable part of our daily lives in the always-on, digital world. People need hassle-free, built-in security that helps to protect them when logging into websites for banking, shopping and social media,” said Johnson Jia, Senior Vice President of Lenovo’s PCs and Smart Devices Product Group. “Partnering with Intel to deliver FIDO-certified solutions, we’re addressing online security issues head-on by providing a simpler, safer online authentication experience and reducing our dependency on passwords alone.”

Lenovo and Intel collaborated to include the new measures on Yoga 920, ThinkPad X1 Tablet and ThinkPad X1 Carbon as well as IdeaPad 720 models.

The FIDO-certified authenticators are included “directly into the core of the PCs, bringing simpler and safer online authentication when logging into popular websites like PayPal, Google, Dropbox and Facebook,” the companies say.

Compatible Lenovo systems include Yoga 920, IdeaPad 720S, ThinkPad X1 Tablet (2nd generation), ThinkPad X1 Carbon (5th generation), ThinkPad Yoga 370, ThinkPad T570, ThinkPad P51s, ThinkPad T470s, ThinkPad X270 and ThinkPad X270s.