The folks at Google really, really hate passwords and they are working day and night to find ways to kill them. Past projects include a tattoo to replace passwords and tiny edible electronics powered by stomach acid that serve as biometric security.
The head of Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects division, Regina Duncan said, “Passwords suck” and called them “relics.” She unveiled Project Abacus, a system developed by dozens of researchers from 16 institutions.
It uses multi-modal biometrics, a system that combines your voice, facial recognition and a knowledge about your habits. All of these things would have to mesh in order for you to have access to your device. If the system finds you accessing programs that you don’t typically access at that time of the day, it may be suspicious about the activity. It will also analyze things like typing patterns to know instantly if someone else is using your phone.
She also showed off Project Vault, which places a small computer completely dedicated to security on a micro SD card. Plug it into your device and it will encrypt your text, video and image files.
Google’s not the only company that wants to do away with passwords forever. Jonathan LeBlanc from PayPal gives a presentation, he calls Kill All Passwords and Yahoo! Mail offers an option where you can receive a text with a new password every single time you log onto your e-mail.
Mcrosoft’s Windows 10 will use Windows Hello to let you use your face, your iris or your fingerprint to unlock your devices without a password.
There’s a big push coming from the FIDO ( Fast Identity Online) Alliance to adopt tougher standards for authentication and passwords just don’t meet these new standards of security. They want passwords to just go away and be replaced by biometric factors based in hardware.
The drawback is, of course, that people are used to passwords. As problematic as they may be, for many folks they seem simpler to use that hardware-based systems that just seem to offer more things to break.
But like it or not, companies are determined to do away with passwords and that’s going to mean big changes for consumers in the coming years.