The future of passwords

The future of passwords

This business that we have been in since the late 1980’s has seen substantial change. I remember when I had to explain what the web was to potential customers, let alone what a web page was…the “Information Highway” was going to be the next big thing! Fast forward a “few” years and the Internet is not given a second thought anymore, except when we cannot connect to it in a manner that we expect. Along with the ubiquity of the being online, has come viruses, hackers, bad creepy people that try to steal sensitive information, etc. Of course bad, creepy people have always existed and now the internet just gives them another venue for their mischief (and more); thus security, which has always been part of DFC’s business has seen more interest recently. One aspect of increased security which is necessary to protect your information, is password management. No longer is it a good idea to use simple words for passwords, or use the same password for all your accounts! So in order to stay safe, life has gotten more complicated — passwords have to be changed regularly, they must be complex and each account should not share the same password with a different account! (Just for fun you can test your password here) My poor brain…but wait maybe my poor brain may be used in the future instead of passwords….
The Future of Passwords May Be Found Inside Your Mind
We all know about fingerprints and security — how our unique prints are calling cards that can, say, unlock a laptop, or incriminate us if we forget to wear gloves during that bank heist (*ahem*).

But researchers are thinking that there may be something even more secure than a fingerprint: a brainprint. And in the near future, we may be able to use brainprints in lieu of remembering all the complicated passwords that litter our lives.

Researchers from Binghamton University have published a study in the journal Neurocomputing, which shows that subjects’ brains react to acronyms differently. This means that the detectable reaction can be scanned and used by security software to confirm a person’s identity before giving them access. Co-author Sarah Laszlo describes another feature of a brainprint-based security system:

“‘If someone’s fingerprint is stolen, that person can’t just grow a new finger to replace the compromised fingerprint — the fingerprint for that person is compromised forever.  Fingerprints are “non-cancellable.” Brainprints, on the other hand, are potentially cancellable.  So, in the unlikely event that attackers were actually able to steal a brainprint from an authorized user, the authorized user could then “reset” their brainprint.’”

The computer system in the study identified volunteers’ brainprints with a whopping 94% accuracy. Soon, we’ll be able to use our brains’ natural processes as passwords, instead of shoehorning awkward at-least-one-numeral-and-one-capital-letter constructions into them. And I say it’s about time!