The Next Generation of Secure Passwords

Passwords. They’re like the keys to your digital life. Protecting everything from business details to your social accounts, it’s no wonder that password protection is consistently a hot topic in online security. There’s an ongoing dialogue surrounding password formulations and the security of passphrases. While strong passwords are clearly a must-have, it can be difficult to manage a lengthy list of complex codes. It may seem straight out of a science fiction novel, but what if you could just think of an image or performing a task and have that be your password instead?

Well, according to an article from CSO entitled “Mind over matter: Researchers turn thoughts into passwords,” the future may be closer than you think.

While you may have already encountered biometrics in your daily life, including retina and finger print scans, what if you could simply use your brain as a means to gain access to your online accounts? Researchers from the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Information are working on a project that could take this idea from science fiction to real life. A team of students and professors have been working on a method to use brainwaves for online password authentication. Their research has demonstrated the potential for the human thought process to be applied to password protection.

During the experiment, subjects were asked to perform seven tasks – certain tasks were performed by the whole group, while other tasks were specific to the individual. All tasks were performed while having their brainwaves measured. Upon completion, the thought patterns of the subjects were compared and after taking into account authentication thresholds, the team was “able to reduce error rates to below 1%.” Just imagine – in your office of the future you start your day by taking a seat at your desk. After you’ve had your first mouthful of coffee you put on your brainwave reader, think a specific thought and just like that you’re logged on to your computer for the day.

Technology is always changing. Passwords that you may have considered secure are actually easy to crack. The same goes for the products and services you routinely use. 10 years ago you weren’t engaging with Facebook. Twitter is only six years old. How often do you log into both of those sites on a daily basis? Who knows – in 10 years using your brainwaves to log into applications could be common practice.

So what do you think? Would you be open to using this technology? Let us know in the comments below. 

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