Wired writes about Google's effort to eliminate the password as a means of authenticating your identity online. Passwords are incredibly insecure, and only becoming more so. They will never again be a good way to protect your data.
Passwords are a cheap and easy way to authenticate web surfers, but they’re not secure enough for today’s internet, and they never will be.
Google agrees. “Along with many in the industry, we feel passwords and simple bearer tokens such as cookies are no longer sufficient to keep users safe,” Grosse and Upadhyay write in their paper.
Fortunately, Google is working on a solution.
Thus, they’re experimenting with new ways to replace the password, including a tiny Yubico cryptographic card that — when slid into a USB (Universal Serial Bus) reader — can automatically log a web surfer into Google. They’ve had to modify Google’s web browser to work with these cards, but there’s no software download and once the browser support is there, they’re easy to use. You log into the website, plug in the USB stick and then register it with a single mouse click.
They see a future where you authenticate one device — your smartphone or something like a Yubico key — and then use that almost like a car key, to fire up your web mail and online accounts.
In the future, they’d like things to get even easier, perhaps connecting to the computer via wireless technology.
“We’d like your smartphone or smartcard-embedded finger ring to authorize a new computer via a tap on the computer, even in situations in which your phone might be without cellular connectivity,” the Googlers write.
The future may not exactly be password-free, but it will at be least free of those complex, hard-to-remember passwords, says Grosse. “We’ll have to have some form of screen unlock, maybe passwords but maybe something else,” he says, “but the primary authenticator will be a token like this or some equivalent piece of hardware.”
Personally, I can't wait until this technology comes out. I like jewelry, but I've never been able to come up with anything I would be particularly motivated to wear, or to make work with my outfit. But having a ring that was my key to the internet would be perfect.
Also: security and stuff.
EDIT 7:58pm -- I actually think a bracelet would be a lot cooler. Would that work?