#$%&! Passwords!! — is it not frustrating remembering and renewing these things? Specially before your first cup of coffee, or worst before you hit the sack. You enter it several times and swear thats what you used the last time you were there. You reset it again and again, then wait to have them send you details to your inbox explaining the logical process of uppercase and numbers… This is getting more and more complicated as we tend to subscribe daily to new online services, blogs, apps and more. Alas the “problem” is being hit head on by none other than.. (dong please…) TWITTER, as they launch a new campaign to make passwords a thing of the past.
The problem is that internet access and smartphone devices have revolutionized how we think and how we act, and more and more countries across the world are now logging on to their favourite websites and apps. However, Twitter discovered that in some places, notably in third world countries where the internet is progressively becoming available to the masses, people have smartphones but don’t necessarily have an e-mail address. Thus, the problem is that most people who are now acquiring smartphones can’t really use the majority of apps that, when launched on the mobile device, require an account to be created, an account that needs a valid e-mail address. Interesting huh?
Twitter has therefore decided to launch a new service dubbed DIGITS. This service builds on the problem developed above by allowing users to use apps among other things without actually needing an e-mail address. Instead, users can use their phone numbers to gain access. This method of authentication has already been used by several widely-used apps, the most popular being Whatsapp : you link your app to your phone number, and you receive a text shortly afterwards with a code allowing you to activate and use your app. In the same manner, Digits will allow users to login with their phone number following three simple steps: when the login screen appears, the user simply enters their cell number, and afterwards they receive a confirmation code that expires after being used. Every time you log in to the app, you receive a new confirmation code. Of course this stand-alone service can also be used and linked with other apps, not just Twitter.
The idea is really revolutionary in the sense that passwords that are present everywhere have become mundane – the process is plain silly if you think about it – to the point of being repetitive, and one day people could just simply login to any account whether that be on a PC or even a smartphone using a phone number and utilizing the unique confirmation codes.
This also deals with another problem that users sadly face on a frequent basis – hacking. Even though we all know that we should come up with inventive new passwords for each account complete with special and numerical characters, some people are still faced with the prospect of logging on to their inbox and discovering that their password doesn’t work anymore and that their account has been hacked. By using a phone number and a one-off confirmation code, Digits could help overcome this problem as the code would be different with each login. Therefore, the chances of having your personal information stolen are greatly reduced (even though cloning phone numbers is a potential threat, albeit a very small one).