News Analysis

Passwords near sell-by date

David Bicknell

Research firm Gartner has warned companies that their use of passwords is already on borrowed time, and they should plan now to find an alternative.

 

By 2007, 80% of organisations will have reached “password breaking point” and will have to turn to more sophisticated technology to protect their systems and data. Businesses need to put a roadmap in place now that will allow them to phase out passwords and replace them with more secure two-factor authentication.

 

Speaking at Gartner’s IT Security Summit in London , the company said passwords are becoming unusable as organisations attempt to stay one step ahead of hackers.

 

Passwords are being made increasingly complex, and changed with greater frequency to thwart hackers, but can still be discovered by spyware, and are increasingly difficult for staff to remember.

 

Current two-factor identification devices – such as smartcards, biometric readers and one-time password tokens – are too expensive for many organisations to deploy, so businesses are likely to turn to intermediate technologies.

 

One alternative issues users with a unique grid of letters and numbers, and then verifies their identity by asking them for the letter at a set of co-ordinates on the grid. Another option being considered by banks offering online access to accounts is to send a text message containing a one-time password to a customer’s mobile phone when they log on.

 

Text messaging for security sounds intriguing. Duz tht wrk 4 payuzugo 2?


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