For small business owners and staff who find remembering passwords challenging and find it difficult to manage the multitude of online passwords, a solution may be in the works beginning as soon as later this year.
PayPal Chief Security Officer Michael Barrett told those in attendance at a recent Interop show in Las Vegas that the end of the era of multiple passwords may be near, according to PCMag.com.
An alternative is being advanced by the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance founded in July 2012 by tech firms like PayPal, Lenovo, Agnito, Infineon, Nok Nok Labs and Validity.
FIDO proposes a system it claims would be simpler to use while at the same time respecting the user’s privacy. It involves authentication using using a few different methods, including use of FIDO-recognized devices, biometrics, and use of portable memory.
Three examples of authentication are given on the FIDO website. One involves a finger swipe or biometric identification process. Another involves a memory stick that can be inserted into a variety of devices but which would then require only one password for all accounts. A third would employ embedded hardware that identifies devices accessing a particular account.
Barrett, who also serves as FIDO Alliance president, admitted at the conference that even with technology options to replace multiple passwords coming out soon it might take years to see mass adoption.
In an April news release on FIDO’s progress, Barrett observed: “By overcoming the limits of proprietary authentication methods, FIDO opens up a vast marketplace for strong authentication where FIDO enabled devices and services interoperate. We encourage all who require secure user authentication, and those who provide various methodologies to join us on a very fast track to FIDO universal strong authentication.”
With cloud applications being used, the number of passwords each person has to remember is exploding. Security experts caution us to change passwords regularly and not use the same password for multiple accounts. But given the sheer numbers of accounts most people have — 15 or 20 online accounts is not uncommon — that advice can be hard to follow. And password vulnerability puts small businesses at risk. We all want a solution to the password problem.
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