PastWord

Dec 26 2013, 05:22 IST
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SummaryThe end of passwords is nigh. You can now log into websites by pointing your phone at your computer

The ever-increasing number of websites we log into, and the simultaneously growing list of passwords we have to remember, are doing one of two things. Either they are giving us migraine trying to remember several different alpha-numeric code words every time we want to check our account balance, email, social network, etc, or they’re providing hackers easy entry into our electronic lives because we use the same password for everything. The future, with biometric scanning progressing so quickly, will render passwords obsolete. But for now there is another alternative that does away with passwords, and all it needs is a smartphone. Clef is a new app that allows you to log into a variety of popular websites (Facebook, Google and Twitter included) by simply pointing your phone’s camera at your computer screen. The user has to align an image on the computer with one that appears on the app. Once this is done, the app sends an encrypted key (a new one every time you want to log on) to your computer, which then logs you into the website.

Now, this has many benefits. For one, you no longer need to remember all your passwords, just the four-digit code that logs you into the app. For another, it’s much harder to hack into since you aren’t typing anything. Finally, all it needs is a smartphone—something almost everybody who uses these websites has now. But there are still challenges with a technology such as this. Once you log into one website using the app, you are logged into any other website you have the app registered with as well—for example, if you use the app to log into Facebook, somebody else using your computer can access your Gmail without needing a password. But this is an easy fix. The point is that the day of the password is very nearly at its end.

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