Passwords will become obsolete when you can log-in with your heartbeat

Passwords will become obsolete when you can log-in with your heartbeat

By Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic 10 hours ago

Nearly all of computer security boils down to one question: How can a device know that you are you? Passwords are the most basic tactic for confirming your identity. If you can come up with your secret string of numbers and letters, you must be you. But everyone knows that passwords are pretty weak barriers, in part because people are bad at choosing them (tending to use innovative combinations such as “password” and “123456″) and because computers are good at breaking them. Other than passwords, there are a host of other tricks, all with that same goal in mind: verifying that you are you. Two of the most common are security questions (silliness) and two-step verification such as Gmail’s, which involves a secondary code that only you have access to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUO7Qnmc8vEThese, however, are all variations on a theme—logging in, account by account, to the data or service you are trying to access. A new device called the Nymi has a different idea in mind for how to verify your identity, and with it, its creator Bionym prefigures a time where you don’t so much as log in as present yourself.

What is this device? It’s a little bracelet you wear that makes sure you are you by verifying your unique heartbeat. It then can unlock your accounts and devices, just by its presence. If someone else wears the device, no dice. (Rumors of a similar Apple device have circulated for years.)

A promotional video from Bionym shows how this ought to work and imagines a few scenarios beyond your run-of-the-mill email login for which this could be quite handy:

What happens when you exercise or are under stress? The company explains on its site that the Nymi only verifies once—when you put it on. And they recommend you put it on in a relaxed state that you could replicate easily (first thing when you wake up, say). Once it has identified you, it won’t lose track of you until it is removed. When you put it on again, it will need to check you anew. Currently the company is accepting pre-orders which it hopes to ship in early 2014. Whether it works as well in reality as it does in the video will determine whether this becomes a viable option for people concerned about their online security who have many accounts and devices to constantly log in to.

Of course, many of the functions demonstrated in the video will require some programming and possibly even some specialized hardware on the receiving end, but the conceit at least gives a sense of another way identity verification could work in an age when machines constantly need to know who you are.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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