Is the password dead?

Google is testing new alternatives to passwords and hopes to kill them off by the end of the year.

Businessman unlocked phone fingerprint

Are you tired of remembering hundreds of different passwords? Well Google is tired of hearing about it and is testing new technology that may see the password become passé by the end of 2016.

In light of massive breaches of online security, such as the recent attacks on LinkedIn, Myspace and Tumblr, as well as rising instances of cyber-attacks by savvy hackers, Google has gone back to the drawing board in relation to password authentication.

This could be good news for many, especially those who really have very little idea about what makes a strong password. For instance: after the 2012 LinkedIn hack, it was discovered that 750,000 of the 167 million hacked accounts used the password ‘123456’, followed by over 170,000 accounts with the password ‘LinkedIn’ and more than 144,000 using the password ‘password’.

So Google has announced a new authentication feature called Trust API, which begins testing this month. Trust API, otherwise known as Project Abacus, aims to mix biometric indicators, such as the shape of your face and your voice patterns, with less obvious, ones such as how you move, how you type or how you swipe your screen, to create a super-secure alternative to character-based passwords. As a fall back, though, there will still be the option for a text-based password, should your biometric authentication fail.

The service will continually monitor you and, whilst accessing your smartphone’s internal sensors, will keep track of your every move, to ensure that you are who you say you are at all times. It even gives you a trust score to show you that, well, you are you.

Usually any one of these indicators would not be enough to ensure security but, combined, Google says it could be more than ten-times as secure as a fingerprint.

According to Richard Lack of customer identity management firm Gigya, “biometric authentication is a powerful enabler, allowing businesses smart enough to deploy it to significantly increase rates of registration, gaining data and insight about their customers, while also increasing customer security. This is a win/win scenario which sounds the death-knell for awkward and insecure passwords sooner than we may imagine.”

What do you think of this new technology? Do you consider it invasive? Or would you welcome the opportunity to never have to remember another password again?

Read more at The Guardian.



    To make a comment, please register or login

    13th Jun 2016
    I don't care what the substitute will be, as long as it doesn't become easier to be hacked.
    13th Jun 2016
    Good idea. Use RoboForm, you have an automatic feature to generate password. My password for LifeChoices is to simple, i am upgrading it now.
    13th Jun 2016
    Yep, I've been using Roboform for years now.
    fish head
    13th Jun 2016
    OK That deals with Smartphones. What happens with desktops, iPads etc?Am also not sure that I want anyone tracking me THAT closely anyway.
    13th Jun 2016
    Apple Iphone already has this feature to open the phone when you turn it on or activate the functions this is not new is actually very very old
    Already exist on my 4 years old HP notebook

    13th Jun 2016
    This may be a temporary solution until scammers work out how to break it. Where there is always a will there is always a way. The idea is to never depend and rely on technology. I use it only as a tool.

    13th Jun 2016
    I have just under 50 passwords for a range of sites and I have them all written down in an address book. Should I lose the book, they are backed up on my computer. I know that we are told never to write passwords down but I am old and sometimes forgetful so it is necessary. I have tried to be clever and have made both the site and the associated password as cryptic as I can.

    An example is a bank account. Say I have an account at the now defunct State Bank of Victoria and the password is 1432281 which is a combination of a PO Box and a phone number. My address book would show under "B" (for bank), Vic with the message "first pobox with phone". I know exactly what I mean but there would be no chance for anyone else to guess. I defy anyone to know all of their passwords, especially when they need to be changed each 90 days.
    15th Jun 2016
    There is talk of having to give finger prints for licence now -- this I do not like --its just the thin end of the wedge

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