How many passwords do you have for all your online accounts? From email accounts – of which you probably have at least a handful – to social networking accounts to online banking portals to forums to shopping web sites – we have so many passwords to remember that it can be a headache. Especially when you visit a long ago forgotten site. Then it could be such a hassle to remember the password, that is unless you’ve got a vault where you keep all your passwords. (I highly recommend Lastpass for this.)
If Google’s vision becomes a reality – which I don’t doubt it will at some point – we just might a solution to this password headache. At a recent RSA security event held in San Francisco, Google principal engineer, Mayank Upadhyay has revealed the interesting direction that the company is going in regard to passwords.
The idea is to do away with passwords as we know them today and how they are used for a variety of purposes. Instead, the brilliant minds of the engineering department are looking at tangible devices such as USB sticks to serve as authentication tokens. The research is not solely focused on USB sticks but other physical devices that can carry the information – from rings to other small pieces of jewelry.
This is not a revolutionary concept in that it is already being used in the banking sector. Instead of having to enter your password when you want to conduct an online transaction, you use a USB stick that verifies your identity. It’s pretty much what Google is researching at the moment.
While this does do away with passwords as we use them today, the USB stick concept is not without its downsides, the principal one being the loss of the device. What then?
What do you think about this move? Is it better to rely to good old passwords and secure password management systems, or are USB stick authentication methods safer?
Image via itekblog