Remembering Passwords Could Become a Thing of the Past

remembering passwords

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

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.

Password Photo via Shutterstock

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

8 Reactions
  1. Great info…

    I had to laugh at one thing that I discovered over at the Fido website.

    “If the user has already enrolled their finger at a website, they can simply go to the URL and wipe their finger.”

    How can I “enroll” my finger?

    And, what do I wipe it on when i’m finished enrolling it?

    All kidding aside, remembering passwords is challenging. Cookies don’t always work.

    I’m all for no more passwords as long as the technology we end up using instead is hack-proof.

    The Franchise King®

    • Anita Campbell

      Joel – ha ha ha!

      Of course, any solution to the password conundrum would be welcome. I’d even enroll my “finger.”

      – Anita

  2. Shawn Hessinger

    Hi Joel and Anita,
    The benefit of eliminating all those passwords is obvious and, of course, as explained, there are security risks that come with such unwieldy lists…like reusing passwords and increasing the chance of being hacked. The key in winning over the general public (and small business owners) will be in proving that the new approach is truly more secure and that it respects important privacy issues.

  3. Daniel Adetunji

    Hi Joshua it’d be amazing ti see passwords a thing of the past; though, I haven;t really had the time to read this post carefully but I’m bookmarking now.

    Thanks bro


  4. Sorry for the above errors, I didn’t proofread