The rise of face and fingerprint recognition technology is making traditional passwords obsolete.
The rise of face and fingerprint recognition technology is making traditional passwords obsolete.

Passwords soon to be a thing of the past

It’s fair to say, when Microsoft sneezes, the world gets a cold.

So, when corporate vice president of Microsoft Identity Program Management, Alex Simons, makes a statement about 2021 it’s a safe bet that it is going to happen.

And in December, Simons declared 2021 a “breakthrough year for passwordless technology”.

What this means is this year, we can expect passwords to become obsolete.

In Simons’ words, Microsoft is set “to make passwordless access a reality for all our customers in 2021”.

There are many good reasons for this move.

Passwords are hard to remember and they’re extremely vulnerable to hacking.

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A Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report found 81 per cent of hacking-related breaches used either stolen or weak passwords.

But we’ve become so cosy with passwords.

They’ve been there since the birth of the internet, and there are many myths and conspiracy-theories around what a passwordless-world might look like.

This has been linked to ID2020, QAnon and the “Need for Good Digital ID” to prove who you are in a digital era and the theory this involves the insertion of some kind of “chip” to protect us.

It is confusing for someone like me who is new to the world of cyber security and computers to get my head around what passworldless technology involves.

What I do know is we need something.

As computers get faster, so does the ability to crack passwords and every day our analysts see data dumps of passwords on the dark net.

It makes sense then to move to a passwordless society.

It seems biometric authentication is part of this passwordless future, where your face or fingerprint is key to unlocking access.

This combined with a pin, instead of a password, is key to protecting your accounts.

Then adding the authentication step of a SMS or email to your device seems to be at the centre of what the future holds.

Turns out, for the next year at least, we won’t need to have a chip inserted for digital protection.

We are the chip.

Kathy Sundstrom is a former Sunshine Coast Daily journalist who now works at identity and cyber support service IDCARE.