• Michael Weeding

Authentication wars, it is getting more interesting by the day.


The password as we know it died a graceful death on the 10th September 2013 when Apple launched iTouch which delivered an effective solution that responded to the consumers need for authentication to be quick, easy and most importantly more secure. So since this date the race has been on to bring to market alternative methods of authentication, so will we really see the password vanish in the near future?

It is not breaking news that passwords are inconvenient and are becoming less secure by the day. Many people use the same password for everything which means that breaking into someone’s complete digital life is as simple as compromising the less secure platform that they use. Once you know the password for one platform chances are you will be able to use that password for everything else.

As a result the search for different methods of authentication has been on the drawing board for many years. The real challenge is how you deliver something that improves security but does not create inconvenience.

This week Google acquired a company called SlickLogin, a start-up that uses sound to authenticate website logins. How this works is that SlickLogin’s technology produces a nearly silent sound when you visit a website, which is then picked up by a mobile app, verified, and sent back to confirm your identity. I guess you could see this rolled out in the near future proving a new way of accessing all your Google services.

It is not the first idea for that Google has had when it comes to finding ways to remove the need for a password. Back in 2012 Google took the stage at the RSA conference to offer some insight about what it hopes to accomplish with the Google One (password) ring. The concept was that accessing your Gmail and other Google services would be as simple as tapping the Google Ring onto your computer. While this created a lot of interest at the time there has been little news on the development of the ring in the last 12 months.

Facebook recently came under fire when they updated their Android App back on January 27 when it became evident to a few that by accepting the new permissions what they had done was allow Facebook access to read their text messages.

Users were horrified but in response Facebook reassured everyone that this was not so they could read their messages and learn more about them. This was about security and convenience as now Facebook could detect the authentication code that was sent to them via SMS and could verify their identity without the need for any manual intervention.

The rumours have been confirmed that Samsung will release a version of the fingerprint scanner when they launch the Galaxy S5 in the coming weeks. Unlike Apple will they provide developers with the opportunity to access this function which will mean the scanner can be used for authentication across the Apps on the phone not just used to unlock the phone? It is unlikely, so while we will see another fingerprint scanner its utility at this point in time will be limited.

So in reality while we can all dream of a time when the password as we know will be dead the reality is that right now there are limited solutions that provide an effective mix of security and convenience.

So I guess you cannot throw away that book that has all your passwords written down in case you forget any of them just yet.

#Authentication #Apple #iTouch