A password-less future?


I remember the first time that someone demonstrated a password-less feature for me. It was at a CSTA Conference with Alfred Thompson and he had a new surface that used the camera on the top of the screen to scan for facial recognition and, once confirmed, it would unlock the screen.

The technology was new and actually brand new to me. It didn’t actually work whether Alfred had his glasses on or off. I felt sorry for him because I think we’ve all been there. You practice a million times and you feel that you have it mastered until you go live and it doesn’t work as advertised. Damn technology.

Things have changed since then. My first experience of a password-less world was with a Lenovo laptop that had a fingerprint reader embedded on top. It worked – sometimes – you had to swipe the same finger over the reader at a precise speed which I wasn’t consistent at. My smartphone has a fingerprint recognition utility and I set it up just to see if I could and if it would change my life. To days, I still draw a pattern to unlock it; it’s so much quicker. I’m not a poster child for bio recognition.

So, these days, I’ve pulled back from the experience and have opted for a PIN to this laptop, my password for my Macbook Pro and my Chromebook is my experimental machine. I can use a password, a PIN, or since I have it paired to my smartphone, if it’s in the same vicinity as the laptop I can use that as authentication. Since I use two-factor authentication for my “serious” accounts, it needs to be close by to make the magic happen.

Once logged in, I’ve have no idea of what most of my online passwords are. I’ve sold the farm to a password manager piece of software that does the work for me. Of course, we know that resources can come and go and so I do have a Plan B but Plan A works so nicely for me right now, coupled with two-factor authentication where I can and I feel I need it.

This white paper from the Fido Alliance describes their vision for a password-less future. It still requires some fussing about with technology but let’s be honest. Every piece of technology requires fussing at some point during setup and then we just become used to things as part of our normal routine.

The white paper isn’t a terribly long or technically difficult document to digest but looks at things conceptually. I see parts of it in my life already and anything that takes us to a safer and more secure future is definitely worth the fuss. For the Computer Science classroom, this is a good article for reading and discussion.

OTR Links 03/30/2022


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.