Will “passwords” eventually die?

There are few things as infuriating as passwords. Anyone who tells you to just use the same password for everything has not been on the internet since the 90s. Not only is it breaking the first rule of online security, but it is impossible! Every site, platform and device have different requirements when it comes to creating a password. If you make it easy to remember, it means you can easily be hacked, but if you make it too complicated, you end up resetting it every time you need to log in.

For a short while we were spoiled with plenty of sites allowing you to login with your Facebook account. However, this comes with its own challenges, like the fact that signing in with Facebook means you have to allow other businesses access to all your Facebook information. (Skype has also recently removed the option to login using your Facebook credentials.)

Every day we find ourselves needing more and more accounts and thus more passwords. We won’t be surprised if you’ll need a password to open the fridge one of these days – although the scale might thank me for forgetting the password to open the fridge or the pantry! Of course, once the scale also starts asking for a password, none of this will matter.

In a world where words containing at least one uppercase and one lowercase letter, a symbol, and number are the gatekeepers to everything we do, we are very likely to end up being locked out of our own heads!

It seems like most of the world is turning to biometrics in the hopes of saving humanity from the password trap.

Fingerprints have already become a popular method of replacing passwords. Ever since Apple introduced Touch ID in the iPhone 5s in 2013, most smartphone manufacturers have introduced ways of unlocking your device simply by scanning your fingerprint.  Apple, Samsung, Nexus, LG and HTC are all battling it out to perfect fingerprint authentication.

However, fingerprints will not always be enough, and tech companies are turning to other biometric options as well, like facial and eye-based recognition. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s iris scanner is one example of this.

Payment companies like Mastercard seem to be at the forefront of biometric development. In 2016, they launched “selfie pay” in some European countries where, instead of passwords, they are using facial recognition to verify payments. For the past two years payment companies have been trying to speed up online checkout processes by using facial recognition software.

Biometric security systems have been around for years. We use them to open gates and doors at secure facilities. It has, however, only been making its way to our devices during the past couple of years. And while the process has been slow and met with some faults, it will become increasing more commonplace to unlock devices and online profiles using your eyes, hands or facial features.

Long and complicated passwords no longer make sense. We need too many of them for our day-to-day activities. The large scale hacks we’ve seen in recent years also show that they are not that secure in any case. Only time will tell whether saving our iris scans and fingerprints online will make our personal information more secure, or only lead to more risks.

Either way, if I don’t ever have to click on “forget password” again, I think it is worth a try. Do you agree?


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