Blog

Why mobile is key to solving the password problem

Google is working to address the never-ending headache of online password authentication, Wired reports today, and will outline potential physical solutions this month in IEE Security & Privacy Magazine. Ideas include a card that can be plugged into a USB drive to automatically log into a Google account and a ring embedded with a smart card that can authenticate with just a tap to a computer.

Noting the ever-increasing number of hacked online accounts, Wired logically claims that while passwords are simple and cheap for businesses they simply don’t offer users enough security. But I think requiring users to carry an additional trinket or wear a ring isn’t a practical solution, either. Instead, I think smartphones (which Wired mentions as well) are the most sensible devices for authentication on computers. We carry them almost all the time, and technologies like NFC can be used to automatically log us in even when we don’t have cellular access.

There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome for that scenario, and passwords may never disappear entirely, but I think mobile phones will become our key authentication “hub” within the next few years.