The ubiquitous passwords, everybody has them and everybody hates them kind of like bills. But while bills are unlikely to go away for most people alternatives to passwords exist and may start seeing more use.
A report from Accenture, “Digital Trust in the IoT,” surveyed consumers about their attitudes towards user names and passwords. In the emerging Internet of Things there is a possibility that passwords will explode even more if an alternative isn’t found.
“Consumers are feeling less secure about the reliability of usernames and passwords to protect their personal data and are increasingly frustrated with the often tedious and inconvenient process of having to manage and remember multiple passwords and usernames,” the report states. “To address this challenge, innovative biometric authentication methods for connecting to the Internet, such as use of human finger and palm prints, irises and voice recognition, are being developed rapidly.”
Some of these new authentication and security methods are already out there from Apple and Google. Encrypted file systems are the default in iOS 8 and Android and the decryption key now resides on the user’s phone, outside of the corporation, shifting the burden of data protection from the provider to the user.
Others are following the same path. Microsoft announced it will support biometric authentication for devices that use its new Windows 10. The technology will enable people to use their fingerprint, iris or face to gain access to laptops, tablets, phones and other devices.
Yahoo is also moving away from having users remember passwords with its on-demand password. This system has a user click a button and they receive a four-character password on their phone. While similar to two-factor authentication — where the user first enters their own password, then enters a second password the company sends to their phone — Yahoo’s process eliminates the personal password step.
The 2015 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey confirms that consumers truly want alternatives to usernames and passwords to protect their security and privacy online. Some 76% of consumers are interested in using replacements for usernames and passwords and 60% find usernames and passwords cumbersome.