alternatives to passwordsOver time, technology changes. 10 years ago, cloud computing didn’t exist. Neither did iPhones. The PlayStation 2 was the most advanced gaming system of all time and hybrid vehicles were just hitting the market.

There is no doubt that technology is evolving at a faster clip than ever before. Recently, there was news that credit cards would begin using pin and chip technology to cut down on identity theft, but credit card security is just one aspect of our identity, and just one piece of information that is stored online. What about password encryption?

We are all familiar with password encryption and usernames. They are usually the default means of authentication online and an easy way to gain access to resources that we bank on to be secure.

The password has evolved from often intimidating or sketchy individuals standing at the door of an exclusive club or event asking for “the password” to what we know them to be today. The average internet user accesses at least 10 password-required portals each day. From social media accounts, online banking platforms, company intranets to online shopping, everyone uses password encryption. 

The Ever-Changing Complexity of Passwords

Over time, passwords have become more complex, often due to a requirement websites have to enforce due to regulatory guidelines. You may have a go-to password you use for multiple accounts. Over time, you may have had to alter that password to require an upper-case letter, symbol, number or not include repeating characters or similarities to your username. In the past, ThrottleNet has given tips on how to create a secure password. Sometimes, that’s not even enough.

Even as passwords become more complex, and individuals teach themselves how to create a more secure password, breaches continue to occur on a regular basis, and it’s not always the users fault. Just this month, both eBay and Gmail have been in the news related to massive user password leaks. Password encryption can only do so much.

Is It Time To Reconsider Alternatives To Passwords?

The internet has become obsessed with password encryption. It has been a useful enough means of authentication, but has it run its course? Are there alternatives to passwords out there that can replace it on a broad scale? 

The internet has changed over time from being a commodity to a necessity. Criminals rob banks because that’s where the money is. The internet didn’t have the money when the password was invented. All of a sudden, through the growth of e-commerce to the surge of social media, the Internet became a treasure trove for password hackers. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and their tools for hacking are also growing more sophisticated.

While technology has helped create more sophisticated tools to decode passwords, the password itself has remained status-quo. Password alternatives need to catch up to all the bad technology out there to destroy it.

Potential Password Alternatives to Watch In The Future

Several alternatives to passwords and post-password encryption era solutions have already been tried, and may offer a solution to prevent issues down the road with hacking and stolen passwords, including:

Two-step Authentication

Two-step authentication is a process of password encryption used by many websites today which requires a traditional password entry followed by a second step; such as entering in a unique code that is sent to a user via text message, email or call.

This is perhaps one of the best solutions to be implemented globally to help prevent password hacking, although there are some problems with this process, because it works best on a desktop, with the authentication code being sent to a separate mobile device. What if a user primarily accesses the web through that device?

Biometric Scanners

This is a likely solution to the post-password era years down the road when it becomes a standard feature on all devices. Newer iPhone models make use of this technology through fingerprint scanners, but this is still a relatively new, evolving technology. A huge benefit of biometric passwords is that they are difficult, if not virtually impossible to crack. The problem here lies in who stores the data. What if the database storing biometric data gets cracked?

 

Unfortunately, there are no password alternatives or obvious, immediate solutions available now that will change the password forever. There are ways, however to ensure data security for business critical processes and ThrottleNet holds the answer. Contact us today to learn more about managed backup solutions for business, and other cloud services offered by ThrottleNet.