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Passwords Are to Go the Way of the Dodo? (Continued from Page 1.)

David SteinkrausLest you think the kindly Internet gods wish to relieve us of the crushing burden of having to remember dozens of passwords — many of which we plunked in on a whim and promptly forgot — abandon that thought. Nay, nay, their motive is the universal driver of all things modern. Money. According to one expert, each employee loses an average of two days of productivity every year messing with password retrieval. Zounds! That doesn't sound like a whole lot, but multiply it by x-number of workers and it's way more than chump change.

Besides, passwords are a leaky boat: hackers are feverishly drilling into the hull, and folks everywhere — corporations, banks, the government, and ordinary mortals — are in tooth-rattling terror that their particular Titanic is about to sink. Cases in point: Deloitte estimated that about 90 percent of users' passwords would be child's play for hackers by 2013. Don't think that happened, but Inc. Magazine reported a 300 percent increase in hacker-cracked passwords from 2011 to 2012. Clearly, there's a need for something better.

Intel to the rescue! Recently, Intel Security announced the development of True Key™, an app for phones, computers, and tablets that uses advanced security technologies. It has its own strong password generator and military-grade encryption. But wait! There's more! It also uses biometrics, including fingerprints and facial recognition. So, True Key generates a supposedly iron-clad password for you and backs it up with the biometric features. Pretty easy and sounds pretty safe.

True Key has been available for limited release since early January, but it will be released to the general public later this year. Users will get up to 15 log-ins for free. Obviously, that won't be enough for most people, but for $19.95/year or $1.99/month, you get more. Right now, True Key is usable on Macs and Windows PCs and on iOS and Android devices, but only Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers support it. Support for other devices and browsers is in the offing, however.

So, although passwords haven't quite reached dodo status yet, their days do appear to be numbered. At least one expert predicts their complete extinction by 2018. And by then, you might also have a biometric door lock. They're working on it. Imagine not having to look under every flower pot in the garage to find that spare key.

I have one question, though. Will biometrics keep out your evil identical twin?


Joen Kinnan

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