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Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Passwords Are Becoming So Passé

Passwords can be something of a pain. It’s recommended that users create unique keywords for each device and account, but the tendency for most is to use the same password multiple times or make them so simplistic that they often are easy for hackers to access.

That could soon change as Apple, Yahoo, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are all working on ways to eliminate the password altogether, at least on mobile devices. Alphabet is testing a password-free program for signing into accounts with a smartphone, while Apple introduced its Touch ID fingerprint biometric feature with the iPhone 5S.

“Twenty years ago, I never could have imagined the world we live in today, and I’m sure the next decade will be just as unpredictable,” Gerhard Eschebeck, head of security and privacy engineering for Google, said in a report for CBS News. “But I’m also sure that 10 years from now, whether we’re changing legacy systems like passwords or taking on new challenges like networked devices and the Internet of Things, working together to share security knowledge and solutions will be our best shot at handling whatever challenges the future throws at us.”

The Google program includes what it’s calling a “security key” to the standard two-step verification process. The security key uses encryption to make sure only the user who has the key can access the account. Google is trying to develop technology that allows Android users to respond to alerts with their phones instead of passwords, and recognizes the user through speech patterns and typing, according to a report in InformationWeek.

The Apple Touch ID feature allows users to log in with the touch of a finger, but only a small percentage of apps take advantage of the option. However, iOS developers are in the process of creating more apps that use Touch ID.

Yahoo launched a mobile mail app last October called Account Key that requires users to confirm an attempt to log into an account through a notification sent to the smartphone, according to a report in TechCrunch. At the same time, Microsoft is working on a biometrics security feature for its Windows 10 operating system.

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