When I started posting blogs to MailBigFile two years ago, ironically enough with a story on crowd sourcing I assumed that every so often I’d update a piece as the changes were inevitable and the technology moved ever more quickly. So it has proved.
But some stories need updating almost every month. One such is the matter of the password. At the end of March we were seeing how End of the Password Unlocks Whole New Minefield of Security Traps.
Today the news is all about the End of the Password. Or if that’s wrong, then it’s pills to help you remember all your keys to your digital environment!
Pop a Pill to Solve the Problem of Forgetting
Let’s start with the pill idea. Apparently in the USA the Food and Drug Administration has licensed a pill that can automatically link up with smartphones and actually confirm your identity to a whole catalogue of devices.
No more having to remember a string of passwords and passcodes. The identity is just you. Your stomach acid powers the tiny pill which then sends out encrypted private details to code readers wherever they are placed.
A conference in the US in May was told by Regina Dugan, the first female director of the US government’s spy tech agency, Defence Advanced Research Projects (DARPA) and is currently creative top boss at Google’s Motorola Mobility division, that they were working on ‘ingestibles.’
They are also deep into wearables like glasses and chipped, electronic tattoos which are being trialled as ‘personal biostamps’ which will turn the human body into a ‘wired being.’
What, a bit like a robot, do they mean?
The pills are made of calcium ‘and other soluble ingredients’ and are designed to read body chemistry. Originally dreamed up, like so many ideas, to help the organs of older people and stroke and heart attack victims be better monitored, pills may become widely available quite soon for human consumption, so to speak.
Well, it sounds OK if we remember we each on average must identify ourselves almost 40 times a day to some remote device, more to a phone. Coming up with regularly changing, complex, hacker-proof codes, is becoming ‘insane’, according to Dugan. She said ‘this will improve everyone’s lives.’
She’s said she would take the password pill with her morning vitamins and already sports a tattoo on her left arm that has an antenna and sensors within. So she is already putting her money where her mouth is.
Say It With Pictures, Not Words
In the meantime, Jack Peat wrote in Ingenious Britain (April 2013 that ‘the password is dead.’ So something has to be done. His research found that as 15-digit passwords have come in, 95% of people cannot remember them, so write them down.
He therefore concluded that passwords are a false way of protecting oneself. He talked to the makers of PixelPin, Brian Taylor and Geoff Anderson. With long pedigrees between them in business development and information security, the military and police surveillance, they have come up with a scheme that uses personal pictures to replace password security.
It cuts down human error, phishing attacks, malware attacks and money mules. It has already started to make inroads into the huge online banking fraud losses (£35 million in 2011) that add to charges for all legitimate customers.
They claim that phishing is almost impossible, as ‘to conduct a specific phishing attack you’d have to target a person rather than a website.’ They have begun their enterprise by approaching ebusiness, mbusiness and banking where there is an increasing use of online commerce functions.
Picture authentification is an easy-to-use, interactive system ‘that appeals to the fundamentals of digital trade.’
Crowd Funding Came Forward
PixelPin raised finance to start by crowd funding, attracting £150,000 from 193 investors on Seedrs in just four days. They have already won a cabinet full of business and enterprise awards, ‘being picked as the most innovative company from a crowd of very innovative people was quite an achievement.’
Now they are expanding from the UK into Europe, the US, India, Africa … and the beauty is that pictures can be understood by all languages and by those who cannot read and write, potentially bringing more people into the freedoms that the digitalisation offers.
Password-free blogs for you:
Is the Fantasy of the Smartphone Getting Silly Now? 12 June 2013
Scams Are Out to Get You, Online and Off, 21 May 2012
Many Minds Make Light Work of Challenges, 4 October 2011