A recent article popped up on my Twitter newsfeed this week regarding the possibility of a world without passwords
. It turns out the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on developing a solution to the password problem. The idea is to move beyond passwords to a completely new method of authentication.
Imagine being able to sit down at your computer and start working without having to go through ten different password possibilities before successfully logging in with the right one. DARPA is looking to introduce a program that makes the machine aware of its operator in a different way.
We now know “strong passwords” involve something like 15 characters of both letters and numbers, with a mix of some capitalized and some not. And as mentioned above, we collect many different passwords over time, all of which are supposed to be changed on a regular basis. But don’t feel bad if you have trouble keeping them straight. “Humans aren’t developed to remember random connections of characters,” said DARPA Program Manager Richard Guidorizzi in an interview video clip.
And even if we did remember all of these passwords, they’ll always be “crackable.”
But what if computers had the ability to identify their users in a unique way, completely eliminating the need for passwords? Maybe this means a fingerprint sensor, or as Guidorizzi mentions, a program that tracks the way you move the mouse, which is apparently inimitable in that it connects to the way your eyes read what’s on the screen. Voice-recognition has also been experimented with.
Hopefully we won’t have to rely on the boundaries of the human mind to remember a long list of password combinations for much longer. And as the article points out, if we can trust anyone to figure this one out, it’s probably DARPA—they are the ones who brought us the Internet, after all.