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New media technology will offer more security that is easier and more effective then the present use of passwords.  The most well-known tech companies have set the new course in motion by offering laptops that now come with built-in fingerprint readers and facial and voice recognition. Some of the most well-known companies have viable alternatives to password use.

APPLE: Last year Apple, Inc. acquired a company that actually developed fingerprint sensor technology. The latest version of the iPhone has a fingerprint sensor installed and its windows 8.1 system will soon be optimized for “fingerprint-based” biometrics.

Google joined with an organization known as the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance, which plans to create industry standards for biometric forms of types of authentication. Furthermore, Google is also testing a type of hardware token that will generate random numeric passwords. Some companies have used this for years; where temporary passwords are used as a second type of verification. Using this system, users do not have to read a password off of the token and retype it. The users simply plug the token into a USB Port or touch it to a mobile device, which automatically makes contact with the electronic device. Google plans to test these tokens this year and hopes to offer them to consumers as a means to log into their gmail or Google account more securely. Google feels that by using this token system, they will have raised the standard of security significantly.

Another interesting option, created by RSA, the security division of EMC Corp, is the widely used SecurID hardware token which they believe has risk-based verification. This system may eventually provide an additional safety measure by confirming the user’s identity over the phone.

As of late, some analysts feel that workplace use of mobile devices can actually improve security by making it easier to use biometric authentication. Since many mobile devices have a microphone and camera, an employee’s location can be detected immediately. It is common knowledge that installing new hardware for each employee can be very expensive, thus a system that draws on commonly owned personal devices has clear economic advantages. Moreover, employees with mobile devices are likely to find a fingerprint reader much easier to use than remembering and typing passwords.

Other developer’s security tools include devices which utilize the same voice-recognition software used in law enforcement. A photo is easier for people to remember than a text password, and harder for others to replicate. And, looking further into the future, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are studying the use of brain waves as a means of security verification. Test subjects in the research wore a headset that measured their brain-wave signals as they imagined performing a particular task, and the researchers were able to distinguish between different people with 99% accuracy. Most experts expect companies to use a variety of different measures. Recently, hospitals use fingerprint readers as a more secure alternative to passwords. Although they have solved many of the hospital’s security problems, the print readers do not work for everyone. A few elderly volunteer workers struggled to hold their hand still and some employees refused to be fingerprinted. Most hospitals are still using passwords as a backup security system. (uhmm)

Experts admit that verification is different in all types of situations. Even though one type of technology solves some issues, it might not be the solution for another problem. It takes time to find answers that will satisfy cost, ease of use, suitability and security for each user. It is evident that the security landscape will change significantly as more workers bring their own tech devices to their places of employment.

Lets face it, Passwords are an annoying interruption in how fluidly we experience the web. Once these gate blocks are removed, we will truly enjoy a more transparent and vibrant Web.


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