Over the past six months, I’ve read numerous articles predicting the imminent death of the password. Despite tangible advances in fingerprint and facial recognition, and the hassle users face today juggling their many passwords, I wouldn’t plan on attending its funeral anytime soon.
Passwords are engrained in our day to day life because they provide significant levels of assurance to any data that needs to be protected. They’re easy to use, but difficult to get rid of due to the necessary service they provide. During my two decades in the IT security business, I have yet to come across a viable unifying replacement.
The password dates back as far as 200 B.C. when Roman soldiers used them to distribute military orders. Though it’s been 2,000 years since their first recorded use, 99% of all computerized access today continues to rely on passwords as the primary method or secondary fallback for authentication. The password remains the de facto standard for authentication because of how easy it is to use, change or make complex. Biometric authentication continues to improve, but neither fingerprint, retina, voice nor facial recognition has made much inroads at unseating passwords.
That doesn’t mean that the password can’t be improved – it can and it must. As I write this, the FIDO Alliance is working to bring together a consortium of industry leaders to change the nature of online authentication. BlackBerry is at the forefront of this movement, with internal and external teams working together to find secure solutions to revolutionize the password as we know it. Learn more about some of the ideas to do this in my blog on LinkedIn.