Passwords have been the primary means of authenticating the identities of computer users for decades, but that might not be the case for too much longer.
A consortium known as The FIDO Alliance (aka Fast IDentity Online) has just released specifications for alternate methods of verifying a user’s identity using biometric sensors and physical identity tokens.
Imagine simply touching a sensor that scans your fingerprint or inserting a hardware device that resembles a USB thumb drive, then immediately gaining access to your computer or mobile device and your various online accounts. It’s coming, and probably sooner rather than later.
No identity authentication method will ever be 100% fool-proof, but the simultaneous use of a fingerprint scan and a unique hardware security token could possibly become about as fool-proof as we will ever get.
Besides the obvious advantage of stronger security, these methods also offer a couple of other fantastic advantages:
1 – We will no longer have to memorize a dozen complex passwords.
2 – Access will be virtually instantaneous. Just as soon as your fingerprint is scanned and/or the hardware token is inserted, you should have immediate access to your computer or mobile device as well as your online accounts.
Bottom line: If all goes as planned, before too long we should be enjoying more secure devices and online accounts with having to memorize any passwords.