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12/15/2015
04:30 PM
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The End Of Passwords?

IT professionals believe they won't exist in 10 years, but this prediction's been on tap for a decade already.

Are we witnessing the death of the password? According to a survey out today from Wakefield Research and SecureAuth, IT practitioners say "Yes." They believe that at the current rate that authentication and authorization technology is progressing, we'll see the end of the password in 10 years.

Among the 300 IT decision-makers surveyed, 91% agree that the traditional password will not exist in a decade. Approximately 66% say they are using authentication methods beyond passwords.

But time will tell whether these gut feelings will have any bearing on reality come 2025.

It's been over a decade now since Bill Gates stood up in front of the audience at the RSA Conference and predicted the end of the password. Since then the market has seen all natures of two-factor authentication and biometrics products flood the market with claims that they'd herald the end of the password: dongles, soft tokens, fingerprint readers, facial recognition, palm vein readers, iris recognition, and even keystroke dynamics--identifying users by their typing patterns. Even as these alternatives and augmenters ebbed and flowed, the password has remained as firmly entrenched as ever.

In fact, as SaaS apps and mobile services proliferate the market, password prevalence is growing. According to a Research and Markets report earlier this spring, the global password management market is growing at a robust 16.33 annual clip and is expected to continue that trajectory through 2019.

Nevertheless, the last couple of years have seen a confluence of activity that could move the needle on the password's eventual demise. With the built-in use of biometrics on Apple iPhones and other mobile devices and Apple's folding in of biometric authentication into its Apple Pay service, it would seem that biometrics have finally entered the mainstream in full effect. According to BI Research, spending on biometrics is likely to grow a stunning 29% in the next five years, hitting $26.8 billion in 2020. Similarly, soft token authenticators and other software-based mobile authentication tools become more secure and easily available due to smartphone ubiquity.

Meantime, password pain only intensifies as the number of passwords that consumers and enterprise users must juggle keeps increasing each years. That's why password management software is growing so much. According to SecureAuth's survey, 1 in 3 IT security professionals report that their users inundate help desk due to frequently forgetting passwords. 

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio
 

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mytrainstatus
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mytrainstatus,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2015 | 3:09:43 AM
Website Passwords
Its not that easy to get rid of the existing password system especially on websites. Many small business people can't implement fingerpirnt, facial regonisiton techinques as it costs good amount of money. Definately the password system is going to be there for a long time.
JimP330
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JimP330,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2015 | 10:10:35 PM
Passwords should not disappear.
However nicely designed and implemented, physical tokens, cards and phones are easily left behind, lost, stolen and abused. Then the remembered password would be the last resort.

And, in a world where we live without remembered passwords, say, where our identity is established without our volitional participation, we would be able to have a safe sleep only when we are alone in a firmly locked room. It would be a Utopia for criminals but a Dystopia for most of us. 

Incidentally, biometrics are dependent on passwords in the cyber space.  So are multi-factor authentications and ID federations like password-managers and single-sign-on services.  Passwords will stay with us for long.

It is too obvious, anyway, that the conventional alphanumeric password alone can no longer suffice and we urgently need a successor to it, which should be found from among the broader family of the passwords (= what we know and nobody else knows).
DarwinC123
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DarwinC123,
User Rank: Strategist
12/17/2015 | 5:20:11 PM
survey is suspicious
The linked survey article did not give reference on why "91% of cybersecurity professionals agree that the traditional password will not exist in ten years.".  

Perhaps, we can expect that majority of the computers to have embedded finger print or facial recognition within 10 years, but, 91% of cybersecurity professionals are not an idiot.  We will have a family member or have a coworker that will need a password for authentication.

 
macker490
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macker490,
User Rank: Ninja
12/21/2015 | 7:21:32 AM
Re: survey is suspicious
journalists are trained to "guide" their "subjects",-- and their "news" reports are often just efforts to make people believe they need to recognize the latest trend and "get with it" or get left behind in the dust bin


remember always: all change is not progress.   there can be -- and often is -- a change for the worse.

 

"biometric id" is a horrible idea: (1) once your ID is compromised -- you cannot change it, and (2) it destroys your anonymity -- which is needed in many cases

there are of course those who want to wipe anonymity out of existance . it seems possible those are those actually pushing this biometric crap.

the right answer is simply implementing proper password administration procedures .

 
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