A look at the future of passwords

In the future, emerging technology, such as security keys and biometric authentication, will most likely replace passwords.

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Emily Farrell: Will passwords become a thing of the past? And if so, when? It sounds like somebody important predicted it, but it hasn’t yet come true.

Ellen Rinaldi: Right, I had mentioned Bill Gates had said something in 2004 saying passwords are just going to be gone very shortly. And, of course, here we are in 2018 and they are still here. But there are other methods of authentication that are starting to emerge. These security keys are one method. Certainly, security codes help. We have biometrics that are coming in now. There are a number of providers out there—there’s Microsoft, there’s Google, there’s Apple—they’re all trying to test different ways to authenticate you that relate to your person. The way you type, what you access, how you do that, your geo location, something we use all the time as well, right?

Jeffrey Lampinski: Yes.

Ellen Rinaldi: With all those factors, what the industry is trying to do is figure out a way to package those up so that they are a strong method of authentication. And we’re just not there yet. So user names and passwords are going to be around for a little while, but I would not say they’re going to be here forever.

Jeffrey Lampinski: Probably not. Well, I think you’ll always have a user ID certainly, but passwords may disappear. Facial recognition is one that Ellen didn’t mention, but it’s another biometric form of authentication. Iris scan is another.

Emily Farrell: It’s definitely dynamic, right?

Jeffrey Lampinski: Yes.

Emily Farrell: The industry, to your point, is changing dramatically.

Ellen Rinaldi: It is.

Emily Farrell: Lots of latest cutting-edge things and exploring all of those different options.

Ellen Rinaldi: They have to become very reliable, they have to be inexpensive enough to use broadly, and they have to be scalable.

Emily Farrell: Absolutely, right. And then, obviously, the cost element too. And I think, Jeff, you talked about a couple different options there. And probably surprising to those at home that they’re fairly affordable options that you could avail yourself to.

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