If there is one thing we could change about the Internet today, it would most certainly be the dissolution of the need for passwords to access web-based accounts. An average Internet user today has around 10 passwords that he needs to remember at all times. Moreover, these passwords need to be unique, hard to remember and mutually exclusive.
However, as most people can vouch for, a majority of users do not follow these rules. Remembering 10 different passwords with a mix of special characters, numbers and the like is a highly demanding ritual. What this leads to is a situation wherein people use the same password, or some variant, for their multiple accounts. This leaves them vulnerable to hack attacks and social engineering tricks.
With all the advances that the tech world has seen recently, it is surprising that we still rely on something as archaic as a password to access our personal accounts. It’s about time we saw some changes here and thankfully, steps are being taken in order to rectify this outdated conception.
Twitter starts the countdown for Digits
“Digits” is a new development tool offered by Twitter that allows people to sign in to their apps using their mobile numbers, and thankfully this has nothing to do with passwords. With the help of Digits, an API developer can enable an end user to receive a one-time authentication code on his mobile phone every time he wishes to login. Embedded within Twitter Fabrics, Digits is a standalone tool that can be used by developers to make their apps safer, better and more lucrative.
Sure this may sound a bit tedious, but the benefits are easy to see. A user will never need to remember his password. Instead, he will simply punch in the authentication code that he receives on his phone. The 4 stages of this process are as follows:
- Choose the login via mobile option.
- Enter your phone number.
- View the authentication code that will be sent via SMS.
- Enter that code and you’re done.
Admittedly, certain drawbacks do exist. First and foremost, if one loses their phone then the repercussions could be as bad as handing over the keys to your house to a burglar. Secondly, some apps may store phone numbers of all their users and these could be shared with ad repositories and other malicious attackers. Lastly, if one enters a no-network zone, access to web accounts could be lost. So there is still some way to go before this technique is perfected. But this is certainly a step in the right direction. You can learn more about Digits here and here.
As always, we want to know what you think. Are passwords proving to be a hindrance to your online activities? Do you think getting rid of them is a good idea?