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Ovation: The Possibly-Pending Demise Of User Names & Passwords.

05/17/2013

I think I might cry dogLike most people, young and old, the internet has become an increasingly larger part of my life.  I resisted an online presence for a long time.  For many years after my friends, family and colleagues were using online services to pay their bills, I was still mailing checks every month.  I continued to buy compact discs long after everyone else was buying digital music and I still buy books instead of e-books.

As my online presence has grown so has the number of usernames and passwords that I’m required to create and maintain.  Like many, I rarely can remember the unique passwords for the dozens of sites I visit so I end up using the same one over and over.  Unfortunately, this practice, and ever-growing computer power, makes us increasingly vulnerable to hackers who can find the passwords for our bank accounts and email by breaking into other, less secure sites.  Essentially, using the same password all the time defeats the purpose of having a password.

Fortunately, a group of tech companies, including PayPal and Google, believe that the future will have no passwords at all.

“Passwords are just not working terribly well any more.  And they’re starting to impede the development of the Internet ecosystem” – Michael Barrett, Chief Information Security Officer – PayPal

The technology already exists for several other methods of authenticating a user’s identity.  For instance, the camera resolution on laptops and Smartphones is advanced enough that your computer could verify who you are by scanning your face or eyes.  Smartphones with fingerprint scanners could hit the market soon.  Other methods might include touch screens that can read your signature and voice-recognition software.

In addition to what the industry calls “biometric methods”, physical objects like a USB plug-in combination with a password are a possibility.  A token that creates a randomly generated code, for example, is already required in addition to a username and password when accessing many banking websites.

Experts say that, even though much of the technology required to move away from passwords already exists, it could take a period of many years for a noticeable transition to take place.  Organizing the many website and devices involved will require a lot of cooperation.

I, for one, am far more likely to remember my face, eyeballs and fingerprints than an ever-increasing number of usernames and passwords.

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From → Ovations

6 Comments
  1. I for two will remember my face, eyeballs and fingerprints! Well said!

    Like

  2. Since computer technology power doubles every 18 months, it will be interesting to see what the next few years hold for us and different things will be for those who embrace. The key is not everyone will embrace it, so customers will need to be served in the technology they want to be served in, which may mean none.

    Like

  3. Barneysday permalink

    The proliferation of usernames and passwords, many now requiring a mix of capital letters and numbers, is actually self defeating. As you note, we begin using the same one over and over, or keep them somewhere on an accessible list. So the individual company feels secure in their requirements, but over all, the internet becomes that much more vulnerable.

    A new system is required, and I’ve used the token system before, and it worked well. Heres hoping the companies come up with something more effective than what we have today.

    Good post

    Like

  4. With retinal scan no $ . or other characters will be added to make your password that much harder to remember, lol.

    Like

  5. I welcome the change I think because I’m getting really tired of all these passwords.

    Like

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