'Passwords are Dead', Google Security Exec Says

Dennis Faas's picture

For most Internet users, passwords are just a part of life. We enter them to access our desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, email programs, and cloud storage accounts. But managing all of those passwords can be a major hassle.

That's why many firms are devising systems that allow us to ditch the traditional password. Recently, Canadian firm Bionym showed off the Nymi, which uses an individual's unique heart rate to skip the typical login process.

Now, one of Google's most prominent security executives says traditional "passwords are dead."

Google Exec: "Game is Over" for Passwords

In a recent panel discussion called "Spies Like Us," Google's manager of information security, Heather Adkins, said the "game is over" for any company that uses passwords as their primary strategy for securing sensitive information.

Adkins went on to say that her company's "relationship with passwords [is] done ... passwords are done at Google." (Source: cnet.com)

Adkins explained that Google is aggressively pursuing two-step authentication strategies based on unorthodox security methods. Adkins was hesitant to provide examples, but did say that Google is experimenting with a unique hardware-based token system.

Adkins also pointed to wearable technology -- such as the Nymi wristband and her firm's own Google Glass design -- as a new frontier for devising security strategies that can be used to protect our most important devices.

Fingerprint Scanning Tech Popular -- But Not Necessarily Better

Another alternative may involve fingerprint scanning, a technology Apple plans to include with its new iPhone 5S smartphone. However, experts warn that it's not necessarily more secure than your average PIN code. (Source: dailymail.co.uk)

It was clear from Adkins comments that she's less concerned with making entering passwords more convenient for people. Instead, the real motivation involves staying at least one step ahead of hackers, who Adkins says are capable of bypassing even two-step authentication systems.

"They are finding new ways to make money off it," she said. "Ways we hadn't anticipated."

When the topic shifted to providing security for a new startup, Adkins insisted that -- no matter how small the firm -- at least one full-time employee must be devoted to exploring and implementing new security strategies.

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