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Passwords and the Rise of the Machines

passwords2No matter where you live, what your age is, and what demographic you belong to, we all use passwords and codes every day. And with technology advancing the way it is, trying to remember them all is getting out of hand – but it’s that same technology that is going to solve the problem… hopefully!

There are so many variations of passwords required now, with different combinations of letters, numbers, upper case, lower case, and symbols, that one password definitely doesn’t fit all anymore. Then, once you’re past the initial authentication test, you need to do a mathematical equation, remember your mother’s maiden name, recall your first school, or try and decipher what some random misshapen letters are to prove you’re not a hacker or a cyborg.

Memory Overload

passwordsRecent research reveals that the average user will input a password or code 39 times a day, and more regular users will do it up to 100 times daily. When you consider it takes us approximately 2.3 seconds every time, and the number of times a forgotten password affects work productivity, and support requirements, it’s time consuming and not a good use of resources for any organisation, let alone the frustration of just personal usage.

No doubt, one day in the future, we’ll reminisce about passwords and tell younger generations about them, and they’ll look at you with their implanted retinal scanner eyes with a mixture of sympathy and disbelief, but in the meantime, what’s being done to make our life easier?

The Future of Technology

There’s OpenID which allows you to use a single, existing account to sign in to thousands of websites without ever needing to create another username and password – but this still involves passwords.

Biometrics is definitely the way of the future – that is the identification and authentication of us by characteristics or traits. It’s used already on a simple knowledge-based level with passwords et al, but fingerprints are already appearing to be the key to unlocking everything.

If you watch any police show on TV you’ll know that everybody’s fingerprint is unique to them, and no two fingerprints are the same. Apple has already introduced a fingerprint scanner for their iPhones, many businesses have implemented fingerprint scanning technology to access their computers, and fingerprints opening doors no longer belongs solely in the realm of science fiction.

A wristband called Nymi is set to be launched next year which recognises your unique cardiac rhythm and by doing so authenticates your identity so you are wirelessly able to turn on your devices, open your car door, and they predict an endless amount of possibilities – all done in a heartbeat! There were also suggestions by Motorola earlier this year about taking pills and getting electronic tattoos for authentication purposes.

It all sounds a bit Orwellian, but I guess that’s the future – it’s the rise of the machines, and we’re just going along for the ride! Are you enjoying the journey, or are you a bit more cautious and erring on the side of the Luddites?