Author: Barbara Seljak
Security and forgotten passwords
I hear myself spelling out the word in my mind while typing it in a blank field, hoping access will be granted to me. Ah… ‘Forgotten password’ has been my default link too many times, and every time it happens I swear I will try and find myself a more convenient solution in this multi-password society we live in.
Frustration with forgotten passwords is one thing, however the question of security is another thing altogether. Now I am no security expert, and I am writing this from a consumer point of view, but a few months ago I had my iPhone stolen and my life was put on pause. If you are anything like me, you start and end your day (and do countless things in between) with a smartphone, and it took me half a day to change all the logins I could think of hoping nothing would get hacked. Could have done with fingerprint recognition or iris scan here.
As consumers we all know user-generated passwords are vulnerable to hacking, but maybe the new iPhone 5S/6 with its rumoured fingerprint reader will address this. But the Silicon Valley techies also promise us a remote wipe of our data when a phone is lost or stolen – which immediately locks your device with a passcode. So more passwords? If they ever really will die, do we know what will take their place? Voice recognition maybe, or iris scanning?
One US bank is already on the case, with voice recognition payments where an application enables customers to use their phones to pay at POS simply by stating their name. How secure is it? Well, they say it depends on the cashiers really – as they are the ones that have to match the photo on their till to the person standing in front of them. No passwords here though – this will change the way we shop forever.
Trailing not far behind is iris scanning – dubbed a game-changer in this space, as one firm unveiled last month, taking an iPhone case to another level. Apparently used by many security officials, who need to process a suspect the moment they capture him, the device is armed with a fingerprint scanner and the capacity for facial recognition – Minority Report anyone? Whether that will become more mainstream and be used for security purposes on our devices remains unknown for now, but at least there’s no need for a password here.
One other attempt to be more secure – and one of my favorite– is the biometric passport which I absolutely love as it saves me waiting in line at customs. All I have to do is simply scan my passport and open my eye for the iris recognition and I wave the long queues goodbye.
I would like to get my hands on these ‘gadgets’ – especially on google glass – but I will have to wait until next year for those, assuming the rumoured price of a couple hundred of dollars is correct.
Security is always going to be a question with consumers when dealing with all these innovative pieces of technology, but sophistication and convenience are worth the risk to me – as long I won’t have to remember any more numbers.
So are passwords dying? Will they be replaced with more innovative solutions? I think so, but we have no idea how fast.