UPDATE: Welcome to life in a post-password era
By Steven Norton
Logging in with biometrics, behavioral monitoring and more
What will life after passwords look like?
For many companies, the goal is for the authentication of customer and employee identities to be nearly invisible, taking only a second as a shopper logs into the website, or running in the background as office staff do their work.
To achieve that, and be able to accurately verify that employees and customers are who they say they are, companies are embracing new technologies--including biometric scans of faces and fingerprints, and behavioral-monitoring systems that track such activities as what apps you open most frequently.
As hackers are getting more sophisticated, traditional passwords are starting to be seen as less secure. The recent data breach of credit-reporting agency Equifax Inc.(EFX) is likely to raise further questions about using Social Security numbers and other personal data to authenticate a person's identity, and to fuel the push for better authentication methods. While security is paramount, companies are also seeking to provide a seamless experience to employees and customers who don't want to be burdened with multiple passcodes.
Mastercard Inc.(MA) is equipping some of its employees with laptops that have built-in fingerprint readers, and is testing technology that scans employees' faces before allowing them inside an office building. Exploring another advanced capability, Mastercard in March acquired NuData, whose technology can recognize customers based on how they hold their phone and other behavioral biometrics.
"The driving force is the elimination of passwords," says Ron Green, Mastercard's chief security officer.