Could ID rings replace the password?


The password could become a thing of the past as security experts at Google outline ideas for new online identity solutions, according to a report in Wired.

In a new research paper, the Google security team discuss the possibility of a physical token that could be hidden in a ring or smartphone and used to confirm our identity online.

As passwords become increasingly impractical, a new solution is undoubtedly required to enhance online security.

Consumers are already encouraged to use different passwords for each account and use difficult to crack combinations of letters, numbers and symbols.

Yet now the average consumer holds 26 different online accounts – passwords are increasingly difficult to remember and are no longer the secure and sensible ID solution they once were.

Device security
In a research paper due to be published later this month in engineering journal IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine, Google Vice President of Security Eric Grosse and Engineer Mayank Upadhyay outline a range of possible new identity methods to replace passwords in the future.

Most notable is an idea for device-assisted security which could see internet users tapping their smartphone or a smartcard-embedded finger ring on a computer in order to identity themselves.

According to Wired, the Googlers write in the report: "We'd like your smartphone or smartcard-embedded finger ring to authorize a new computer via a tap on the computer, even in situations in which your phone might be without cellular connectivity."

Using a physical device to authenticate yourself will be considerably more secure than a password, as the device will need to be in your possession as opposed to passwords that accessed and used remotely by fraudsters located on the other side of the world.

Another idea being tested is a tiny coded card that slides into a USB (Universal Serial Bus) reader to automatically log a web surfer into Google. This form of device would need support from web browsers but could be a quick and simple ID solution.

According Wired, the Google experts add: "The future may not exactly be password-free, but it will at be least free of those complex, hard-to-remember passwords.

"We'll have to have some form of screen unlock, maybe passwords but maybe something else. But the primary authenticator will be a token like this or some equivalent piece of hardware."

Do you think the end is nigh for the password? What would you like see to replace it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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