The password no longer suffices as a mean of protection for computer using humanity, so Wired's Mat Honan suggests we kill it. But what exactly will we replace it with? Honan has a personal stake in this movement, as he lost a lot of his life after a major hacking into his various accounts, which he wrote about for Wired over the summer. That traumatizing event prompted Honan to investigate the stability of passwords all over the Internet, which he just posted today. It's a pretty chilling look at how easy it is for a hacker compromise someone's entire Internet life, even people who use the often talked about best practices. His conclusion: "Kill the Password." He's the latest to make the call to action, and, after reading his harrowing personal tales, we're on board. But, what does a passwordless future look like?
Honan doesn't give an exact answer to that question. But he sets forth a certain vision of the future that involves more inconvenience and a way of building a verifiable identity of ourselves. Here's the basic idea, from Honan.
When you see a man on the street and think it might be your friend, you don’t ask for his ID. Instead, you look at a combination of signals. He has a new haircut, but does that look like his jacket? Does his voice sound the same? Is he in a place he’s likely to be? If many points don’t match, you wouldn’t believe his ID; even if the photo seemed right, you’d just assume it had been faked.
And that, in essence, will be the future of online identity verification.
In practice that means a combination of different things that say "yes, this is me." What are those things?