Google Experiments on Using Hardware for Passwords

With so many online services requiring passwords, it can be quite difficult to manage your secret codes especially if you prefer using a different password for each website.

Google wants to put an end to it. The tech giant, represented by vice president of security Eric Grosse and engineer Mayank Upadhyay, outlined their proposal to develop a hardware that would act as a master key for all online services. The report, which was published in this month’s issue of IEEE Security and Privacy magazine, said that Google’s engineers have been experimenting on creating that master key. Examples in this experiment include a smart ring for your finger, a cryptic USB stick, or a token installed in smartphones.

The proposal aims to prevent remote hackers from accessing online accounts by stealing usernames and passwords. Hackers would not have no other means to access other people’s account, except by physically stealing the login device.

But it does have its potential drawbacks, such as the need to have a backup sign-in method in case the login device becomes lost or damaged. Also, not everyone would prefer to carry their smartphones around or wear a ring just to use their computers, not to mention the devices being physically stolen by disgruntled friends, relatives, and colleagues.

Google is not the only tech company interested in replacing the password. Last year’s news about Apple’s acquisition of fingerprint scanner firm AuthenTec lead to rumors that future iPhones would come with fingerprint sensors built into their home buttons.

Source: Wired, via PC World

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