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4/22/2013
11:42 AM
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Scan My Eyeball, Already

Could consumers be the catalyst for the password's ultimate demise?

Let's face it: Even with all of the publicity surrounding password breaches, email and Facebook hacks, and more and more everyday people experiencing compromised accounts -- you most likely have relatives and friends who've now been there -- most consumers still don't create complex passwords.

You can't blame them. They want to use something they can actually use (as in remember), and they want convenience when they log into a website, social network, or email account. They're hearing that they should have a strong password with a mix of upper- and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols, but the reality is, they don't want to worry about forgetting it when they need it. Which, of course, is exactly what's happening.

According to a new Ponemon Institute study, around 70 percent of consumers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany have forgotten one of their passwords because it was too long or complex to remember, with 61 percent saying they were locked out of an online account due to some sort of authentication process failure. Sixty-three percent of U.S. consumers say that failure was due to a forgotten password, username, or response question.

Some 46 percent of U.S. consumers were unable to finish their online transactions due to an authentication failure with passwords, according to the survey.

The study, which was commissioned by Nok Nok Labs, shows that consumers (some 70 percent) are getting fed up with passwords and today's authentication processes. Meanwhile, the troubled password model remains the norm despite developments in stronger and more efficient authentication processes. Most organizations just can't seem to shake the password, even as the more aggressive ones, such as banks, add multiple factors of authentication.

Consumers are looking past passwords, though. And surprise, surprise: Biometrics, which not long ago left most consumers and corporate users uneasy and queasy about their fingerprints, irises, and faces being used to ID them, is now becoming more palatable. The majority of consumers from the Ponemon survey say they consider biometrics a viable option for authentication with banks, credit card companies, healthcare providers, email providers, government agencies, and other "trusted" organizations. As long as those organizations don't have direct access to biometric data, that is.

They favor voice recognition (83 to 91 percent), facial scans (65 to 72 percent), hand geometry (57 to 65 percent), and fingerprints (56 to 62 percent) the most, but eye scans are fine with half of the consumers in all three regions.

So maybe, just maybe, consumers could end up being the catalyst that finally kills off the password. If password problems increasingly interfere with their online transactions for products or services, then something's gotta give.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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macker490
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macker490,
User Rank: Ninja
4/23/2013 | 12:05:33 PM
re: Scan My Eyeball, Already
the ultimate invasion of privacy.
it is important for EVERYONE to be anonymous on the net and I don't think this kind of scanning is compatible with that requirement.- The Internet is not a nice place everywhere which makes it critical for everyone to be anonymous .- There's nothing wrong with passwords -- properly implemented.

just as rainbow tables are used to attack password hash hackers will similarly attack any scan .- it is necessary to put a stop to SQL Injection -- so they can't get the password hash tables to work with in the first place.
macker490
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macker490,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2013 | 11:33:32 AM
re: Scan My Eyeball, Already
the real "problem" with passwords,..... is that people share them to access pay for services. now these services want positive real identification to stop such sharing

this is a demand that must be rejected . -
WSCHEXNAIDER775
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WSCHEXNAIDER775,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 2:38:00 PM
re: Scan My Eyeball, Already
"I need is a distraction, and an eyeball" -- Jeremy Renner as Clint "Hawkeye" Barton in The Avengers movie.
WSCHEXNAIDER775
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WSCHEXNAIDER775,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 3:03:29 PM
re: Scan My Eyeball, Already
Sorry .... typo

"I need a distraction, and an eyeball" - Jeremy Renner as Clint "Hawkey" Barton in The Avengers movie.
blm-x
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blm-x,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 5:23:48 PM
re: Scan My Eyeball, Already
There are flaws and inconveniences with most biometrics. Fingerprint scanning is cumbersome and difficult. Retina scans are uncomfortable because of the time necessary to get a scan. Eye infections and other ocular conditions can cause false rejections. Facial scanning and thermal scanning also are dependent on changing physical conditions of the subject. Voice pattern matching will depend on health conditions as well. Palm vein scanning looks to be the most promising for consistent biometric identification since the veins under the skin do not alter significantly over time and age in late teens and adults. Until they can instantly pattern match DNA enough to remove false acceptance within reasonable statistical odds we are left with what is currently available. I think multi-factor authentication using a combination of the above methods will probably be a solution that is reasonable, secure, fast, and convenient.
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