Google Is Going to Kill Passwords by 2017

Google Is Going to Kill Passwords by 2017

The tech giant is going to start testing an alternative to passwords called the Trust API with financial institutions. The tool was originally created under the code name Project Abacus and aims to kill passwords by mixing together multiple weaker indicators into a single solid piece of evidence that you are who you say you are.

Trust API could use some obvious bio-metric indicators like your face shape and voice pattern, along with some less obvious ones: the way you move, the way you type and the way you swipe on the screen. Trust API will continually run in the background of the phone and keep track of whether those indicators match your behavior in using a phone. Any of those methods can’t be used individually to secure web services: even facial recognition is significantly less secure than a fingerprint scanner. But their combination results in something dozen times as secure as a fingerprint.

Trust API will be open to third parties, which will allow other organizations to verify your identity through it. At the first stage, banks will use it to verify customers logging in through Android, but soon it should be available to any developer. Its estimates of security differ from traditional: instead of giving a binary answer, as a password does, it can hand over a score showing how confident it is that you really are you. If the bank needs more confidence, it can ask for additional mechanisms, such as more bio-metric data or an old-style password.

It should be noted that Google is not the only organization developing such software. For example, British Nok Nok Labs offers a similar tool that links information from manufacturers, mobile networks and users together in a web of trust. A customer identity management firm Gigya believes that approaches like Trust API are likely to pay off, because today consumers have to remember an average of 100 passwords. Considering that the number of devices we own is rapidly increasing, the future definitely lies in methods of authentication without passwords. It must be methods that consumers clearly favor in terms of convenience and security.

The industry experts admit that bio-metric authentication is a powerful tool that can allow businesses to significantly increase rates of registration, gaining data and insight about their customers, at the same time enhancing customer security.