Could we Live in a Password-free World?

We’ve all been there. Answering security questions, clicking ‘forgot my password’ and just generally wishing for a better way to protect online accounts. When you’re responsible for remembering passwords to various online sites, you might find yourself dreaming about alternatives. A magical world where your information is protected and you’re not stuck within the confines of an 8-10 character password, that includes a capital letter, a number and a special character. We’ve already shared a blog post on a technology that could allow you to unlock websites with your own brainwaves, but what if you could do away with passwords altogether? If Michael Barrett, Chief Information Security Officer at PayPal, has anything to do with it a passwordless world will be the way of the future.

Barrett is also president of FIDO Alliance, a group that is working to get rid of passwords in favor of authentication technologies. FIDO, which stands for, Fast IDentity Online, gives users a choice of authentication methods, including “voice biometrics, eye scans … a USB stick loaded with FIDO software.” The FIDO Alliance “plans to change the nature of authentication by developing specifications that define an open, scalable, interoperable set of mechanisms that supplant reliance on passwords to securely authenticate users of online services.”

Like practically anything else, there are positives and negatives to this system. There could be a real business opportunity for groups who develop password alternatives. As security breaches reveal more login details and other personal information, online users will be seeking out other ways to keep themselves safe. There is also potential for security drawbacks, as well. Many online users won’t be interested in using a third party device to protect their passwords. Other potential users might also be concerned about putting all of their password eggs in one basket, so to speak. No matter what side of the fence you find yourself on, it’s clear that companies are putting a real effort into simplifying the online password process, and it will be interesting to see what results they come up with.

Would you use technology that helped you bypass remembering your online passwords? Let us know in the comments below.

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