The Demise of the Password

Microsoft foundpassworder Bill Gates stood before an audience in 2004 and predicted the end of password usage as a cyber-security measure. Why? Traditional passwords just don’t “meet the challenge” of keeping critical information secure, Gates reasoned.

Well, more than a decade has passed since Gates’ prediction and passwords are still an integral part of most cyber security protection both for individuals and businesses. Despite their continued usage, tech pundits persist in forecasting the death of passwords. A December 2015 study by Wakefield Research in conjunction with SecureAuth Corporation gave passwords another 10 years to live. Of the 300 IT decision-makers surveyed, nine out of ten said they believed the traditional password “won’t exist in a decade.”

But not everyone is sounding the death knell for passwords. Veteran tech journalist Ericka Chickowski, who writes for InformationWeek’s DARKReading cyber security news service, recently wrote:

“Since [Gates’ speech] the market has seen all natures of two-factor authentication and biometrics products flood the market with claims that they’d herald the end of the password: dongles, soft tokens, fingerprint readers, facial recognition, palm vein readers, iris recognition, and even keystroke dynamics – identifying users by their typing patterns. Even as these alternatives and augmenters ebbed and flowed, the password has remained as firmly entrenched as ever.”

If that’s the case, how can a smart business owner make better and safer use of passwords?  Tech experts suggest using variety in your passwords, utilizing phrases instead of words and never using the names of family members, including pets as part of your secure password.