Passwords have been a way of authenticating our accounts and gaining access to our secure data for so long, but things are beginning to change about the way we authenticate our accounts, passwords are evolving.
Today I want to look at the 4 ways passwords are evolving. Recently we have heard of accounts being hacked, sensitive information being stolen, identities stolen etc. Passwords have not been very safe in recent times so companies and security researchers have been looking at various other means to either replace passwords or to add something to them.
Biometrics authentication simply refers to identification of users by their characteristics or traits. Biometric authentication involves taking pieces of data completely unique to your body part like finger prints or retina and matching it with a database entry.
Biometric authentication has been an effective means of security than passwords. Anyone looking to have access to your accounts will require having physical access to you in order to get a fingerprint sample.
Biometric authentication is difficult to steal as its data is usually longer than passwords and depending on the encryption method used to store the data, it will make it almost impossible for an unauthorized access.
Biometric authentication is becoming popular as we can commonly see them on devices such as Laptops and Smartphones these days. Now you can secure your accounts with your fingerprints or retina, and these traits are unique in every individual which makes it impossible for anyone to gain access to your accounts.
Pattern recognition is yet another way passwords are evolving. We have seen this method of authentication in Android devices and Windows 8 in recent times as a sign that companies like Google and Microsoft are beginning to understand the need for a more secure means of authentication than the ordinary passwords.
Pattern recognition simply involves drawing a shape or pattern on top of a background. It could be connecting dots in a certain order or drawing patterns on top of a still image in the case of Microsoft Windows 8.
Pattern recognition is gaining popularity and in few years I hope to see more devices and applications implement this method of authentication. Imagine if you can login to your online accounts by just drawing patterns than typing your passwords every single time. This method will be difficult for even keylogger programs to record and it is a more secure way to protect our private data than passwords.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
This method of authentication involves signing in once to a server that stores your passwords and then logging in to your web services one click at a time without having to type another password all day. This is another way passwords are evolving, you don’t have to type a password for all your accounts, simply login to an SSO server that will automatically grant you access to your accounts.
A facial recognition could as well be classified as biometric authentication. It is a computer application for automatically identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or video frame from a video source.
It involves comparing selected facial features from the image and a facial database using some facial recognition algorithms identifying faces by extracting landmarks or features from the subject’s face. The algorithm may analyze the relative position, size, and/or shape of the eyes, nose, cheekbones and jaw and comparing them to the data stored on the database to grant or deny access to the system.
Apps like FaceVault among other have already introduced this security method on iOS and Android devices. This app grants or denies you access from your device if your face matches the facial data that has been pre-set on the device already. This is yet another way passwords are evolving as you don’t have to enter a password before accessing your device.
You have seen how far we have come to securing our private data and systems. Passwords have evolved from the simple text to biometric, pattern recognition and single sign on. No security system is perfect just as passwords have their pros and cons, every security authentication method has its pros and cons as well.