FixNix Blog

Forget Passwords: A Look at the Future of Logging In

Aug 27, 2014 6:26:15 AM / by Shanmugavel Sankaran posted in hackers, information security, IT security, LOGIN, Blog, cyber crime, cyber insurance, cyber security, cyber threat, password


Good news: you're not forgetful, your passwords are just too hard to remember. Now, researchers across the world are working on a whole raft of solutions to make a password-less future a reality.

"With passwords, you are required to use a different one for every site, it can't be a dictionary word or a name, it must have a long enough mixture of lowercase, uppercase, digits and symbols, you are not allowed to write it down, etc... but, if they get hacked, then they get blamed for not having followed the rules." University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory's Frank Stajano told CNBC via email.

Forget passwords: This is the future of logging in

Image credit: Shutterstock

Stajano's elegant solution to this problem is the Pico, a small electronic gadget that remembers your login credentials on your behalf.

Instead of typing a password, you scan a code with your Pico and this initiates a cryptographic protocol that logs you in.

Pico only works in "an aura of safety" created by proximity to a set of even smaller gadgets, called Picosiblings, that can be carried on your person or embedded in clothing. This makes it difficult to steal, as the device locks outside of its aura of safety.

It also backs itself up every time you recharge it meaning you don't lose access to your services if you lose the device.

"Pico aims to eliminate the requirement to remember any secrets in order to log in, be they passwords, PINs, passphrases, images, finger squiggles or whatever," says Stajano.

Stajano's is not the only solution in the pipeline: across the world other security companies are rushing to solve the password problem.

A space age handwriting match

A good example is Sweden-based BehavioSec, a security company that has created software that can identify you by how you type your password.

The idea has gained traction with European banks, as an unobtrusive way to validate whether the user is authentic or not.

"We're looking for the rhythm of how they type, not exactly what they type but how they do it." BehavioSec CEO Neil Costigan told CNBC in a phone interview. "We then compare that to how you've used your computer or device in the past."

Any anomalies are then flagged up, which starts a further validation.

The system, which has a 99.7 percent accuracy rate at identifying users, makes it very difficult for hackers to use a stolen password.

"Consumers are quite comfortable with pins and passwords and things like our technology makes those more secure" says Costigan.


Less is more

Another possible solution is a zero-interaction authentications (ZIA) system, where users do not need to interact explicitly with a machine or system in order to authenticate their credentials.

A team of researchers at the University of Alabama, led by Nitesh Saxena, an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, is working on safe and easy to use a ZIA system that they hope will eliminate the need for passwords.

Their system gives users a security token -- such as a mobile phone or a car key -- using an authentication protocol over a short-range, wireless communication channel, such as Bluetooth. It eliminates the need for a password and diminishes the security risks that accompany them.

"Given the usability and security advantages of our ZIA mechanisms, we believe that they may serve as an attractive alternative to traditional password-based authentication, if not completely eliminate it." Saxena said.

In their system a user need only be in close proximity to the device that requires log in credentials to be allowed access, which is rather handy, if it turns out that you are forgetful, after all.

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6 trends that will shape Information security in 2014

Aug 25, 2014 2:05:57 PM / by Shanmugavel Sankaran posted in hackers, information security, IT infrastructure, IT security, malware, security services, Blog, cyber, cyber attack, cyber crime, cyber security, entrepreneur


Worldwide spending on information security will reach $71.1 billion in 2014, an increase of 7.9 percent over 2013. The data loss prevention segment will record fastest growth at 18.9.

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US Nuclear Regulatory Commission hacked 3 times in 3 years

Aug 22, 2014 12:04:20 AM / by Shanmugavel Sankaran posted in hackers, information security, united states, US, Blog, cyber, cyber attack, cyber crime, cyber security, Nuclear Regulatory commission, phishing



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89% executives say cybercrime major threat for businesses: KPMG

Jul 21, 2014 8:15:46 AM / by Shanmugavel Sankaran posted in hackers, information security, Blog, cyber, cyber crime, cyber security


NEW DELHI: Cybercrime has emerged as a major threat for businesses across the country, with an overwhelming 89 per cent of executives surveyed believing such attacks could hamper not only the financial dealings but also damage the brand value and market reputation, says a KPMG report.

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Virtru: New encryption tool to secure emails

Jul 18, 2014 12:29:36 AM / by Shanmugavel Sankaran posted in security, virtru, Blog, cyber crime, cyber threat, digital security, email, encryption


It's time to face reality: Pursuing digital security should be as much of a no-brainer as locking your door before you leave the house. Identity theft, corporate security breaches and an increased interest in personal privacy are forcing some changes. Many of us are choosing stronger passwords and changing them more often, locking down social media accounts and being more conscious of how we communicate. If you haven't taken these steps, you should.

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Why govt orders security audit of IT infrastructure?

Jul 15, 2014 5:00:00 PM / by Shanmugavel Sankaran posted in IT cyber infrastructure, IT security, Security audit, Blog, cyber attack, cyber crime, cyber security


NEW DELHI: Alarmed at the rising cases of cyber attacks emanating from the web space of a host of nations, including Pakistan, China and the UAE, the Centre has ordered security auditing of the entire IT infrastructure of the central and the state governments.

There has been a spurt in cyber crimes against Indian establishments and the exercise has been initiated to check the preparation of government establishments against such activities, communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

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