Headline, March01, 2014



THE ADVANCED Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo has developed a chair which detects  with 99% accuracy-  the unique shape of a user's bottom.

Such biometric data could be more secure. But handled wrongly, they could be far more damaging.

These datas can be cloned, as when someone's fingerprints are  ''skimmed'' from something he has touched and replicated:

Or  spoofed''  in the technical jargon. For example by etching a print onto a jelly mould. Getting a new password is merely a hassle.

What if the thieves have the digital version of your retina, or chop off your finger?!

PASSWORDS are a pain. People forget them. Hackers pinch them. Last year Twitter lost 250,000 and Evernote, an online notebook service had to reset 50m  after a breach.

Many companies have been found to store passwords  without  '''salting'''  them > that is adding extra data to flummox hackers  or even encrypting them at all.

Firms are demanding a harder ones : a minimum number of characters, plus numerals and upper and lower-case letters.

Busy and careless people skimp on security; the typical internet user, research suggest, uses just  seven passwords   to manage 25 online accounts.

Even those tend to be easily cracked variations on a theme.

The search for alternative is both  urgent  and potentially lucrative. Google, along with other behemoths like PayPal  and hardware makers such as Lenovo and LG, have forged the  FIDO Alliance, to:

Develop alternative authentication employing a panoply of gadgets. These include USB-sticks, chips on fobs and other tokens. And Google is working on a ring.

Yet any hardware is vulnerable to be pinched or cracked. Bracelets, rings, smartphones and computers can be lost or stolen.

Consumers can freeze accounts linked to compromised accounts and devices, but sometimes a moment is all it takes for  "mischief-makers"  to do damage. 

Some of the ideas involve biometric data  -in theory unique in each user. Apple may have a fingerprint reader in its latest iPhone.

Bionym, a Canadian firm, launched Nymi, a bracelet that detects the wearer's heartbeat. The technology relies on the uniqueness of an individual's  PQRST  pattern: the five peaks and troughs that appear in an electrocardiograms: ECG    
One distinct solution is to supplement passwords  -and gadgets-   with something else, such as a code texted to a phone, or generated by an app.

But other companies eschew clever gizmos altogether:

Focusing instead on making passwords friendlier,  for instance by tapping people's visual memory rather than their verbal one.

Many Samsung smartphones require a doddle, not a code. A British start-up called  PixelPin  asks users to select some objects, in a preset order, from an image they have uploaded.

Barclays, a bank, sets  multiple-choice questions which require detailed knowledge of the customers'  past life and times.

Yet instituting and using all these schemes take time and money. Joseph Bonneau, a security researcher at Google, has catalogued dozen of schemes designed to replace passwords over the past two decades:

As yet, as yet,  none has!  Meanwhile, the cyber-criminals continue having a ball of a  time and keep feasting!

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' Bad News For Crooks And Criminals '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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