'Age of the Password' Is Over

They don't work, and it's time for a better system: Mat Honan
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2012 10:52 AM CST
Passwords Protect Jack Squat
Those dots aren't protecting you at all.   (Shutterstock)

"You have a secret that can ruin your life," Mat Honan writes in Wired, namely your password. Honan should know: A hacker recently broke into several of his accounts and wiped clean his iPhone, iPad, and Macbook, deleting all his messages, documents, and every photo of his 18-month-old daughter. Ever since he's been looking into web security, "and what I have found is utterly terrifying." Hackers can break into virtually any system in minutes, and "the common weakness … is the password."

"The age of the password has come to an end; we just haven't realized it yet." We're not sure what will replace it, but it's going to involve giving up a little convenience and a lot of privacy. "The only way forward is real identity verification." We'll need to let providers use multiple data points to identify us, from biometrics to personal information to behavioral data—things the cloud already has within it. "What we can say for sure is this: Access to our data can no longer hinge on secrets. … The Internet doesn't do secrets." For Honan's complete column click here, and for more on the problems with passwords, click here. (Read more Wired stories.)

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