eBay to scrap passwords for all users

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eBay have expressed a desire to move to a site with no passwords. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to happen today or even tomorrow, but at some point users will no longer have to remember passwords to access any of the features of the eBay site.

“eBay Identity has taken an ambitious goal of killing passwords for eBay users once for all. However, killing passwords is not a trivial task, as users have been using passwords as a primary authentication mechanism to access e-commerce and financial websites over the past 20+ years.”
– Ashok Balasubramanian, eBay Member of Technical Staff

eBay Identity’s core strategy is “Seamless when possible, friction when needed.” As part of the move away from passwords, eBay already support Google Sign-In for Android and enabled Touch ID and Face ID on devices that supported them as soon as they were launched. eBay also open sourced “Universal Authentication Framework (UAF),” a component mainly focused on password-free authentication working with FIDO Alliance.

Ashok Balasubramanian, an eBay Member of Technical staff, acknowledges that progress is slower than eBay would ideally like as they’re dealing with Service Oriented Architecture technology constructed over a decade ago. First task was to create a new user on-boarding service, using latest coding standards, that can facilitate seamless on-boarding of customers to eBay.

“Given that the new state-of-the-art on-boarding system gives us the ability to run, now it’s time to spread our wings and fly. Social sign up is the next big step in the on-boarding experience charter. Social sign up focuses on delegating authentication to social websites. Another big stride in account management would be the ability to handle sub-accounts. A clear separation between an account and a login provides many opportunities to explore.”
– Ashok Balasubramanian, eBay Member of Technical Staff

What would your favoured eBay log in authentication be? Would it be that your device (mobile, laptop, tablet) is a known device, a social media login, biometrics such as Fingerprint or TouchID, or are you happy with good old fashioned passwords that can be forgotten, mis-typed and hacked?

9 Responses

  1. eBay really are not the people to take this forward. sit down and leave it to someone that knows what they’re doing.

    I’m not aware of any other site in the world that requires you to sign in again every hour or so, or every time you make a change, or randomly timeouts, or makes you sign in to various foreign sites whenever you speak to a foreigner.

    “users have been using passwords as a primary authentication mechanism… for the past 20+ years.”
    – Yes, and ebay STILL haven’t managed to do that well! what chance do you have of engineering their replacement?

    “Social sign up focuses on delegating authentication to social websites.”
    – ahhhh, that sounds more like ebay. how can we make this someone else’s problem while still taking credit for it?
    between facebook and ebay’s moralities regarding privacy, i don’t think anyone wants the two of them in cahoots with direct access to your purchase and search history, do they?

    I don’t know what the replacement for passwords will be, but i do know that ebay won’t be the ones to bring it about.

  2. Have to love a post that goes into great length to disect another contributors content then closes by saying how the author ignores all posts by the person they’ve just replied to at length.

    It’s the sort of hypocrisy that made eBay’s colosseum THE place to spend a Friday night a decade ago.

  3. Just a point when the socia media gets hacked and not all businesses want to link in this way.

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