stronger-password-authentication|Photo Courtesy ofDepositphotos.com business owners manage a growing number of logins for email, social media networks and cloud accounts. As a result, users tend to pick weak passwords and use them everywhere. This makes all your account vulnerable because a hacker could access it on a site with weak security and then use that password on other, more secure sites.

As PayPal’s chief security officer, Michael Barrett, said in a recent keynote address, “Passwords are starting to fail us.”

To meet this challenge, businesses are exploring a variety of new data security concepts. For example, with a token system, users must provide a physical password such as a USB keychain. And with two-factor passwords, a user may need to use their cellphone to unlock the password using SMS.

One of the most promising concepts is an online authentication model proposed by the FIDO Alliance, according to an article on the Forward Thinking blog at PC Magazine.

Typically, when users log into a service such as email, they enter a password on a device, which sends the information to the service for authentication. Instead, FIDO’s model proposes that the devices themselves conduct the authentication — perhaps through a fingerprint reader — and then communicate to the service that a user is authentic.

While thumbprint and retina scanners have long been the stuff of science fiction, biometric logins are probably not far off. With the popularity of mobile devices, voice biometrics might prove more appealing to consumers, because it’s something they’re already doing today.

It’s hard to say what form tomorrow’s security measures will take, but it’s clear that we can’t simply remember more and more passwords. In fact, one of the most common customer support challenges today is managing resets for forgotten passwords, according to an article about the top help desk calls on ComputerWorld’s website.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Are passwords failing us at this point? What should replace them? Let us know by posting in the comments section!

Source: Forward Thinking Blog at PC Magazine, May 2013