Twenty years from now, we may be looking at our kids and saying, “Back in our day, we used the name of our first pet to gain access to our bank accounts, Facebook accounts, and email. Isn’t that crazy?”
You don’t have to look far to see the dwindling importance of passwords. Apple’s latest iPhone has famously adopted a fingerprint sensor in lieu of standard security features, for example. Meanwhile, Google’s information security chief recently came out and said:
“Passwords are done at Google”
What? If you’re like me, then you probably have a few different Google accounts. So does this mean Google will be scanning your eyes in the near future? Will there be fingerprint sensors built into every keyboard?
Google’s security chief, whose name is Heather Adkins by the way, elaborated further on her claim and said:
“Our relationship with passwords [is] done”
Adkins even fired a warning shot at tech startups who were still relying on the dated password system and said that these startups better have an abuse team prepared to deal “with customers getting compromised.”
Unfortunately, Adkins didn’t reveal Google’s plan for the next version of passwords, probably because there isn’t a specific plan in place. However, she did suggest that Google has experimented with hardware-based security tokens and has teamed up with Motorola to create a two part authentication system that would require smartphones to check in with a device held somewhere on the body or in their own clothing in order to work.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the start of a widespread microchip system for the human race. Google’s world domination plan has been confirmed.
Adkins didn’t completely throw out the password system, but she did offer interesting insight into how Google has reduced security concerns across its network. Specifically, users who have turned on two-factor authentication – which requires a check-in with your mobile phone – have an incredibly small risk of being hacked.
However, users who haven’t yet turned on two factor authentication are experiencing the flip side of the coin: hackers have been able to break into accounts and activate two factor authentication on their own mobile phones. This effectively locks the user out of the account and gives full power to the hacker who activated two factor authentication.
So basically, activating two factor authentication is a very good idea if you care about account security.
Adkin’s comments were made when speaking on a TechCrunch Disrupt panel entitled “Spies Like Us”. Adkins is the manager of information security at Google, which probably knows more information about every internet user than any other company in the world. So when she makes comments like the ones above, you should probably listen to her.