In 2004 Bill Gates predicted the death of the password. It now feels that we’re moving closer to seeing Gates’ prediction come to fruition, but why has it taken so long? There simply hasn’t been the technology available to provide a solution that offers secure, stronger authentication combined with a good user experience. The password has ruled by necessity.
The widespread adoption of the smartphone coupled with an advancement in consumer biometric technology has changed the landscape. There’s now also a stronger public will to find a better authentication method. This has been fuelled by high-profile hacks, which have further exposed the vulnerability of the one-time password.
The progression that we’re witnessing has been driven by the FIDO Alliance and their President Michael Barrett. Their goal is to provide open specifications, so that devices and servers talk the same authentication language. FIDO’s recent progress has been impressive. It seems likely that they could provide a solution by implementing authentication standards. Internet stalwarts such as Google, Microsoft, Paypal and Alipay (China’s leading online payment service) have all become FIDO members. Critics point out that it’s odd that a consortium of companies is promoting these specifications, rather than a standards body. However, perhaps this reflects the changes in the tech industry. So what do you think the future holds? Will you be using any of these devices in the future?