Imagine never having to click on a “forgot password” link again.
Researchers and companies all over the globe are working on new gadgets and technology that can save you from the headache of memorising (and inevitably forgetting) passwords.
The iPhone’s fingerprint scanner provided a taste of the password-free life, but it’s only the beginning….
This might be the password of choice for the Facebook generation. Companies like Amazon and Mastercard are already considering technology that would ask users to snap pictures of their faces on a smartphone before making a transaction. Mastercard's technology would require a user to blink before their face is scanned as a safeguard to prevent hackers from simply placing a picture of someone else in front of the camera.
Swallowing pills might be one of the few things more annoying that memorising passwords. But some researchers think it's the future. After mixing with stomach acids the pill would emit a unique, low power signal that connects with your PC. Google VP of Advanced Technology and Projects Regina Dugan described such a system a few years ago. According to Dugan, a person could safely ingest 30 pills every day for the rest of their lives.
Going for a stroll might not sound like the most convenient way to log on to your computer, but the way you walk has some unique traits that could serve as a mean of authentication. A wearable device, like a bracelet or anklet, could record your most recent physical activity and use that information as a password the next time you need to log on.
Has anyone ever told you your ear canal is one of a kind? Special earbuds, being developed by NEC, bounce a sound into your ear's cavity and use the reverberations as a signature to identify you. NEC hopes to have these available within a few years.
The shape and contours of your posterior are so special that some researchers in Japan have explored whether a special seat mat could be used to identify you. The experimental mat, which is packed with special sensors that measure pressure distribution, could for example be integrated into cars, to prevent unauthorised sitters from driving off with the vehicle.
Google's Regina Dugan showed off a sticker-like wearable tattoo on her arm a few years ago that she said could be used to unlock a phone or computer. The tattoo, which was only an experimental prototype, was made of flexible circuits and sensors, and could be worn for up to a week, she explained. No word on whether you can get the password tattoo in the design of a fire-breathing dragon.
Wearable gadgets like the Fitbit and Apple Watch can already track your sleep and the steps you take. The next step is to track the pattern of your pulse or heart rate, as the Nymi band does, and use that information to identify you.
Nothing is easier than saying a few words, and even the best impersonator can't perfectly mimic another person's voice. That's why one big bank in Britain recently set up technology to identify customers on the phone or online by the sound of their voice. And yes, the system will still work if you have a cold.
This one is only for hardcore security geeks. Believe it or not, some people have already experimented with embedding a small RFID chip under their skin. The chip emits a radio signal that can theoretically be used to do everything from unlocking the door to an office and starting a car, to logging on to email.
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