It’s no secret that the internet is a minefield. There are hackers and thieves at every turn waiting to steal your personal information and everything else you love. And now the NSA has front-row seats to watch it all happen. This is all pretty scary, so we tend to cling to anything that offers us a semblance of security and safety, even if it means swallowing another pill with our multivitamin every day. It may sound a bit crazy, but soon we might be able to forget the days of memorization and simply take a pill in order to access all of our accounts and electronic devices.
The edible password pill seems to be one of the more outlandish attempts to minimize threats on the internet, but it has a lot of merit. Using stomach acid as its battery, this device works by transmitting a specific signal to a receiver in your electronics, acting as an invisible key to unlock your phone or computer, and in turn erasing the need to memorize a list of unique and complicated passwords. The pill is part of a relatively new plan to combat the problem of phishing and identity theft online that includes other extreme methods. Lucky for users, however, swallowing a pill doesn’t have the nasty implications of other new password-securing measures like tattoos or skin implants, but will it catch on?
Most say, no. It’s just too unrealistic for the current market and situation. The demand for more user-friendly security led to the creation of the Fido system. It sounds more like the name of your childhood dog than a legitimate tool against fraud, but founders Google, PayPal, and Lenovo are optimistic about its future. The Fast Identity Online Alliance (Fido) is a practical way to ensure a safe online presence without the use of pills or skin implants.
Fido relies heavily on the use of an authenticator. Companies and some online gaming sites have been using these for years, but their versions are a bit simplistic and function by churning out a new numerical code every so often. The Fido authenticator uses this PIN number method as well as more advanced methods such as fingerprint scanning and the use of a cell phone’s camera. Those involved in this project believe this could be the accessible solution we’ve been lacking. Of course, it is not without its shortcomings, but most of them will be easily corrected before Fido becomes widespread. For example, users just need to make sure their connection is secure and they did not mistakenly try to connect their authenticator to a phishing site. Problems like this have an easy fix: use a secure network at home, and triple-check the url before you enter in any information.
The steps someone can take to ensure the successful use of Fido sound a lot like what we can do to prevent internet threats originally, so why is this such a problem? Part of the issue is the ability of the hackers. You can take all the precautions and behave diligently and carefully online and still fall victim to a skilled hacker. Another part, an unfortunately large part, is the ignorance of people while they’re online. Somewhere around 50,000 sites get hacked each month, leading to a loss of $1.5 billion to online thieves. One particular security breach revealed that of the 32 million passwords stolen, close to 300,000 were simply “123456.” These same people are often the type to use that simple password for all of the accounts they create online, making the hacker’s job even easier.
Overall, these developments will definitely lead to the existence of a safer internet. As long as we can stay ahead of the hackers’ advancement and make sure our safeguards are updated. And maybe also talk to that one friend who still insists “password” is the best code for all of their online accounts.