Grace Information Management Blog

In last week’s post we looked at multi-factor and two-step authentication as ways of supporting the humble password in online security systems.

Technology experts are always looking for new ways to rid us of passwords completely. In the future, it is likely we will see more advanced multi-factor authentication systems with passwords being enhanced by biometrics such as facial recognition, voice recognition and fingerprint technology.

Google is even looking at an option that might carry around a stick, or key-dongle, or card with us that gives access to our online data, similar to the way we carry our house keys.

While all these solutions will go far in protecting our online identities, a password will still remain the first step.

However, a team of researchers at the University of Berkley’s School of Information revealed earlier this month that it may have discovered the key to replacing passwords forever.

Led by Professor John Chuang, the researchers found instead of typing your password, you may only have to think it. That means replacing the password with a ‘pass thought’.

All you need to do is connect to a specialized EEG device, think your password and voila, you have access to your online software or device.

Using the commercially available NeuroSky electroencephalogram (EEG) headset, which identifies brainwaves using a simple sensor placed against the forehead, researchers found that within a small margin of error, the product was able to distinguish and interpret one user’s brain airwaves from others close by.

The researchers believe this new technology is not only secure and accurate, it’s also user-friendly.

According to the researchers, computers that recognise you by your brainwaves might seem like a futuristic fantasy but the experimental results show it is more realistic than we suspect.

“Rather than being limited to ultra-high-end, high-security systems, brain-wave based authentication could end up being as cheap, accessible and straightforward as thought itself,” the researchers concluded.