The Future of Security

It may be hard to believe, but the password era may be coming to a close. Personal passwords can now generally broken in 20 minutes. While odd and uncomfortable to consider, according to this recent NPR article, a successful mass transition will likely occur through a combination of timing, branding and audience loyalty.

Password replacement ideas are now being openly floated, and here are two of the most recent (and ambitious) possibilities:

Digits: Last week, Twitter held its first web developer conference in over four years. During the conference, the company unveiled a new suite of tools called “Fabric.” Digits, a part of Fabric, is Twitter’s replacement for the online password. The concept is simple and may already be familiar to many people: instead of having a username and password, Digits simply harnesses your phone. Enter your phone number, wait for a text message with a confirmation code, enter the code, and you’re in. These codes expire and can be used just once.

Google Security Key: Last week, Google also announced its own password replacement: Security Key. Security Key is an actual key that will be plugged into a USB port. While you still need to enter a password online, you will communicate more directly with the password-protected sites you are accessing.  Google Security Key won’t require a cellular data connection, like Digits or ApplePay. However, it will require use of the Google Chrome browser. It will also mean that you need to keep up with a key, however, which could create an entirely new set of problems.

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