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Why it's time to say goodbye to passwords

Jen A. Miller | Aug. 7, 2015
When Wallaby Financial launches a new version of its app, which helps users maximize rewards and points, later this summer, it will be missing one notable feature: a password.

"We do see mobile being very key to helping solving this problem," says David Rockvan, senior vice president and general manager of Entrust Certificate Servces at Entrust Data. "People want to carry them. You don't have that issue of making them carry around something extra." 

Consumers trust their phones, too, so the near-ubiquitous handhelds are becoming "a trusted platform for multipurpose ID," Rockvan added. "When you put all that together, we really think the phone or smartphone is actually going to be something you can utilize to drive stronger identity, hence moving away from passwords" 

Another trend: letting another group do the authentication for you. By the end of this year, Wallaby Financial will allow customers to login through Google. 

"Seventy percent of our users are already signing in with a Gmail address," says Goldman. "On Android phones it's already built in. Ultimately that's more security than using some terrible password like dog5.'" 

Medium, the blogging site, lets users log in with Twitter, Facebook or an email address. 

Password alternatives down the road

Rockvan sees third-factor authentication becoming an important part of security in the future, too: things like biometrics with touch ID which Apple already uses and retinal scans. 

But Meldium's Jabes still doesn't see those kinds of systems as a silver bullet that replaces passwords entirely. 

"The reason you haven't seen a solution magically appear is it has to be better for users," he says. "I can remove passwords and give you a phone-based login but is that even going to get one tip of the registrations to my website? Users are going to be more confused." 

He adds that while startup companies are presenting possible solutions, he doesn't see the industry making a total shift away from passwords until a giant like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook or Google comes up with a solution. 

"I hate to say this because I'm someone who comes from the startup world," he says. "I think this is one of those where a major player has to do something in order for real change to occur."

 

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