IN THE BEGINNING…
Passwords have been around since ancient times, back when you needed to know the correct word to pass or enter an area, and have evolved over the course of history to meet specific demands. The military developed a challenge and response system that required not just a password, but also a counter-password. For example, the challenge would be Mango, and the response to Mango would be Peach. This form of authentication verified both sides.
The first computer password was born out of necessity in 1961 at MIT for use with their CTSS—one of the first time-sharing systems, which is a computing resource used by multiple individuals. Since there were multiple people who had private sets of files, it made sense that each person should be given their own login and password. The rest, as they say, is history.
PASSWORDS AREN’T DEAD
To this day, the debate over the future of security rages on with passwords right in the middle. Some argue that passcodes are no longer adequate enough to protect accounts and sensitive data, and that the future of identification requires more robust methods of protection, such as biometrics, which remove the burden of storing multiple passwords in databases that can be hacked. But yet, passwords reign supreme as the first line of defense, just as they always have. Why? Because biometrics aren’t necessarily more secure, since they’re impossible to change (you can change your password but not your fingerprint). And just like standard passcodes, biometrics are also stored in databases, which can be hacked. The future of identification and authentication remains cloudy. The only thing we can be certain of is that passwords are a long way from being replaced. Now lets not forget that a password can still be the weakest link to your security and if you add the additional MFA alongside your password, it would make cracking your account virtually impossible.
TYPES OF BIOMETRICS
Biometrics Definition: measurable characteristics used to identify people, such as fingerprints and irises.
Your smartphone probably already has this, and it’s used for more than just passwords. The sensor is also used by fitness apps to measure things like heart rate and stress.
Many smartphones and computers now come with face scanners via the use of cameras.
Similar to facial recognition, iris scanners register your eyes and unlock your device when you look directly at it.
A few years ago, a number of banks and other financial companies started using speech patterns and timbre in place of passwords.
You’ve probably seen this in movies where a character places her hand on a reader and it opens a secure door.