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The world needs something stronger than passwords which we can all use

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Whether we’re a Playstation user logging into our account, a corporate executive accessing a cloud-held database, an online banking customer making a payment, or simply an individual wanting to enter one of the hundreds of thousands of sites offering ‘My Account’ areas – 99.99% of the time we still enter user-name and password to log in. Yet the evidence is piling up that passwords are passé. They can be cracked, phished, key-logged etc, and once compromised can allow a hacker to come and go without detection. So what can we replace them with? Tokens or other hardware creating one-time codes are a partial answer, but will never cater for large user-bases due to costs and provisioning problems, and the recent RSA data leak has shaken confidence. By the same ‘token’ biometrics have failed to catch on and always require a reader to hand (often literally!). Clearly the world needs something cheap, portable, sustainable, hardware-less, re-settable and simple-yet-strong, to replace passwords. It needs to be capable of generating OTPs which can be given out over the web or phone, without providing a criminal with anything they can re-use. Jonathan Craymer will explain how pin+ – while not claimed to be a panacea for all identity management and access problems – could well fit the bill and how it surpasses all other ‘graphical’ systems currently available.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Group meeting presentations series.

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