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Decoding tomorrow: Developer secrets, security and the future of passkeys

Bitwarden surveyed more than 600 developers to understand how they perceive and implement security best practices.

In this inaugural study, Bitwarden surveyed more than 600 developers to understand how they perceive and implement security best practices. The survey also polled attitudes and adoption practices related to IT security technologies and trends, including passwordless authentication, secrets management, and the cybersecurity risks associated with the rise of generative AI.

Developer Survey 2024: Decoding Tomorrow: Developer Secrets, Security and the Future of Passkeys

Table of Contents

Secure-by-design

Generative AI

Passkeys

Resources

Developers value secure-by-design but fall short of best practices

  • Almost all (94%) cite ‘secure by design’ principles as very or extremely important in the development process.

  • Although ‘secure-by-design' principles are important to developers, 26% claim implementation is too time consuming and 18% say they’re too understaffed and working tight deadlines.

  • And, practices like hard-coding secrets in source code (65%) and keeping secrets in clear text (55%) prevail.

Risky secrets management practices persist

“The 2024 developer survey highlights a move towards modern authentication like passkeys in work applications. However, it also shows risky practices continue despite regular security training.

This data underscores the industry-wide challenge of translating security awareness into action.

It's clear there's a need for accessible tools to help the developer community and organizations manage secrets securely, enforce strong authentication, and handle the risks of AI, while keeping innovation on track.”

Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell

Generative AI offers both promise and peril

  • Over three-fourths (78%) strongly or somewhat believe generative AI will make maintaining data security more challenging.

  • Most (83%) have significantly or somewhat invested in AI technology. However, unsecure use is prevalent: 30% have entered developer secrets into a generative AI platform, 24% have entered privileged credentials, and 25% have entered social security numbers.

  • Over a third (38%) believe AI will pose the biggest cyber threat 5 years from now, followed by ransomware (19%) and poor cyber hygiene (16%).

Risky use of generative AI is pervasive

AI: A Renewed Need for Cybersecurity

Survey finds 78% of developers identify AI as a security risk, yet they continue to input sensitive credential, financial and health data into AI platforms.

Passkeys, while valuable, won’t replace passwords

  • A majority (88%) have a highly favorable or favorable attitude towards passkeys and passwordless features.

  • Over two-thirds (68%) of developers have used passkeys for accessing work applications; 60% for accessing personal applications.

  • But while FIDO2 and passkeys have received attention as a potential password alternative, just 36% think they will replace passwords.

Passwords are (yes, still) here to stay

Passwordless Authentication: Balancing Security and Convenience

68% of developers have embraced passkeys for work applications, indicating a shift towards modern authentication technologies. Over a third (36%) see FIDO2 and passkeys as likely successors to passwords.

Additional Resources

View the full report: Decoding Tomorrow: Developer Secrets, Security and the Future of Passkeys

Check out The Survey Room for additional cybersecurity research or visit bitwarden.com/secrets/ to learn more about coding securely.

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