Beyond passwords

Date:9 October 2013 Tags:,

Want to log in to your bank account? Just sing a song in your head, and you’re in! That’s the future envisioned by computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, where they’ve shown they can recognise different individuals by reading their brain waves using a single-electrode consumer headset. Others envision their own versions of a password-free future. Here are some of their ideas. – AH 

Fingerprint scanning:

The technology has been around for years but has mostly interested corporate customers trying to keep company data secure. Apple’s recent acquisition of fingerprint-scanning company AuthenTec could change that, especially if the technique becomes standard in iProducts.

Eye scanning:

Beyond the retinal and iris scans of sci-fi movies, there are now eye-print scans, which sense the pattern of veins in the white of the eye. EyeVerify’s app uses a cellphone camera to check prints as a person looks left and right, and it performs focus and exposure checks to make sure it’s not being spoofed.

Pass rings:

Google’s plans involve a physical token that you carry with you to authenticate your identity wherever you log in. The company is currently testing mini-USB fobs, but has also floated the idea of items that don’t need to be plugged in to be recognised, such as rings or other jewellery with embedded NFC chips.