Friday, September 13, 2013

Can Apple kill passwords?

I hate passwords! I have dozens of them and if it wasn't for my devices automatically remembering them I'd be locked out of everything. I've tried to follow the standard advice of sticking to a certain formula but then there are several services that insist I change password every month and will not accept any old ones. The worst ones are services I only use now and then, like 2-3 times a year. I nearly always have to ask for a new password. Worst case scenario is when I can't remember my user name either. I know there are alternatives including apps that remember everything for you but I still haven't got round to them. Other technical solutions so far have had too many ifs and buts to threaten the dominance of the password.

My hopes have been raised however by Apple's move to include fingerprint ID detection in the new iPhone as described in a BBC article, Could iPhone's fingerprint sensor help kill off passwords? Biometrics has been toted for at least 15 years now but have never really found the killer application. Inclusion in the iPhone could well lead to mainstream acceptance. It's not foolproof, nothing is, but the article suggests that future ID authentication will involve multiple checks on say fingerprint, iris, voice and even pulse. The future may well build upon your body as your ID and not a combination of symbols.

The impact of more secure identification control on education is clear. An often discussed weakness in online assessment and examination is ID control and the use of biometrics with mobile devices could clear up many of these concerns. For now, however, we still have to remember those irritating passwords.

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