Getting past passwords
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
ECU Security Research Institute
Having been a core feature of IT systems for several decades, passwords continue to represent both one of the most familiar and most maligned aspects of security technology. While their potential weaknesses have been well recognised (but largely unchanged) over many years, there has equally been little sign of other approaches emerging to supplant them in terms of all-round usage and applicability. In spite of long-standing and well-recognised weaknesses, passwords continue to represent the most commonly encountered form of user authentication. However, there are now signs of viable alternatives. New approaches range from the more involved login processes demanded by services such as online banking, and the more user-friendly graphical approaches offered on mobile devices. Steven Furnell of Plymouth University finds that, while none of them represents a panacea, they do collectively serve to reduce the overall dependency upon passwords and ensure that users are exposed to a wider range of options.