Past, present and future of account login.
If you live in this age, you are surely annoyed by creating passwords for almost every activity you do in the digital world. Probably at first, you start using unsecure but easy to remember passwords, and probably, they are likely to be hacked even by anyone with the intention.
Then, when more and more security was needed, for the reason of using the web for commercial reasons, or home banking and such, the sites started to develop increased security options, like captchas, or quantity of characters, number, and upper case restrictions, etc. Then, to make things more complicated for our memory, passwords began to be void after some days. We started to alternate between two passwords. And then, “you cannot repeat previous passwords”.
There is a problem here. Of course, security is important and we need to protect ourselves from identity theft, and other malicious online crimes. But, we can’t have the Enigma machine for every password we use, so, this is an issue that is evolving and probably (and hopefully for our mind sanity) will be solved soon enough.
Account creation, are they really for security reasons?
On the other hand, for almost any activity, we have to have an account. Most sites have really good intentions to make us create them. They keep track of our preferences. They give us a unique identity in their site/app/game, etc. Others, just want to have stats on the users, so they can aim ads to us, or other intrusive things, that we don’t need at all.
And then, we try to not use the same password, but, maybe we use a personal not-that-secure password on places that don’t need or get personal data (like games, web pages, etc.) But then, different providers have not the same security rules for the passwords as mentioned, or even for the username!
So, we start to have lots of different combinations that are impossible to keep track just with our memory, and then, we write them on a txt document or even physically on a paper, rendering all security useless if anyone with a bad intention can have access to them.
And when we forget about our pass, sometimes it is simple to recover it by an e-mail, but sometimes it becomes a digital nightmare, let me give you a personal experience on this.
I was on vacations in the US, and I wanted to create an account for HTC Vive. When I was doing it, I was addressed to link to my Steam account, so I would have my free games in the Steam account. I entered username, entered password, ok. Then, I was warned that I was doing so from an unsecure or new location.
Here, I was presented with two options, an SMS to my phone (not having roaming, so not a viable alternative) or an e-mail to my linked e-mail account. I chose this. Then I tried to login to Hotmail, again, non-secure or new computer, sending me to a page not only asking me my second pet name, but over 10 more questions, that I didn’t have the info on myself at that time, like the credit card associated with the account 5 years ago… completed a couple of answers, but I was informed that they were not enough answers…
Finally, I called a friend to login with my account on my computer in my home country to get the Steam code to login.
Of course, that we need our accounts with valuables or privacy protected, and there are alternatives like pin generators, or flash cards or apps with authenticators, but ultimately, there is a problem here when you don’t have these available, and some companies are thinking about solving this growing concern.
The future of authentication and privacy issues
All signs in the future identification aim to biometric scans, that are based on a first recording of a personal human characteristic, and then, by comparing with a reading from a sensor to login. Even this method is not 100% secure, for example fingerprints can be stolen and forged, but maybe a combination of a couple of this biometrics are very reliable.
These biometrics, consist not only of a retinal scan, finger or hand prints, or voice recognition, but also of things not that obvious, like keystroke scans that analyze how we type words on a keyboard.
While sensors become cheaper, we users will welcome this technology, not only to free our memory from useless combinations of letters and numbers, but to have our information and digital valuables protected.
I hope this information has been useful for you. Do not forget to post your comments in the section below. If you would like to know more about this, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org