The End of the Password Age

By Craig Buckler
We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you the latest from the web and tried-and-true hosting, recommended for designers and developers. SitePoint Readers Get Up To 65% OFF Now

Despite revolutionary advances in computing, we still rely on a string of characters to authenticate users. Passwords originated hundreds of years ago and were certainly used by Roman military. In the modern era, MIT’s CTSS introduced passwords in 1961. Unfortunately, password problems are prevalent:

  • People are predictable. Thousands use popular codes such as ‘password’, ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’, and ‘salmonmousse’ for their credentials.
  • The stronger your password, the more difficult it is to remember.
  • The more passwords you have, the more you need to write down on post-it notes stuck to your monitor.

The web exacerbates the issues. We’re now expected to remember dozens of passwords for public systems which are open to crackers, the NSA, or anyone who wants to deface your Facebook page.

Finally, increases in computing power allow nefarious developers to use brute-force entry by testing millions of character combinations. As we progress toward quantum computing, systems will be able to correctly guess every password you’ll ever use before you’ve thought of one.

Biometric Security

Basic biometric security such as finger-print, retina, and crotch odor analysis have been available for many years. The hardware is expensive, unreliable, and can easily be circumvented. Hollywood movies highlight flaws such as using an unconscious guard, obtaining prints from a glass, or removing body organs prior to authentication.

small prickFortunately, a new era of biometric security has been proposed by Dr Hans Hertz from the University of Dumiydia in Uzbekistan. The method verifies the unique structure of deoxyribonucleic acid — your DNA:

  1. Your DNA sequence is lodged with the Central Ribonucleic Analysis Portal.
  2. A Biometric Analysis Device is attached to your computer. This extracts a small vial of blood — you’ll feel a prick whenever you access certain websites. Other factors such as pulse, warmth, blood pressure, etc. are also measured to ensure the device has direct access to your body.
  3. Your computer analyzes the DNA, verifies a number of gene sequences against the portal, and permits or denies access.

The process currently takes several days, but this should reduce to a few hours as the technology improves.

Biological Benefits

your daily healthBiometric analysis is not limited to authentication. The software can act as a virtual doctor making early health diagnosis and medication recommendations. In extreme circumstances, your local health agency can be alerted to imminent problems.

Dr Hertz claims further advantages:
“We discovered my wife’s great-grandmother probably had ginger hair. I offered her therapy to correct the defective gene, although we’ve recently separated.”

Social Submissions

The top social networks have all expressed interest in the system. With access to DNA records, additional processing can establish genealogical relationships — perhaps to identify long-lost family members or famous ancestors.

Dr Hertz continues:
“This is an exciting use of the technology. Imagine logging on to Facebook to be informed your father isn’t who you think he is, or you’re about to marry your sister. The possibilities are literally limitless.”

The age of the password has finally come to an end.

We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you the latest from the web and tried-and-true hosting, recommended for designers and developers. SitePoint Readers Get Up To 65% OFF Now
  • RetroNetro

    This sounds like the same bad stuff I’ve been hearing about for years. :-| I can’t think of a single password/account I have that is so valuable that I feel a need to use my DNA to login. :-0

  • RetroNetro

    Anyway, April Fools! :P “crotch odor analysis”

    • WooDzu

      Indeed, therm highly adequate to the whole idea :D

  • M S

    Bah, everyone knows nipple-scanners are the future.

  • Philip C

    Lol, I read right into that. :)

  • NicolaiLinde

    Yeah because giving away your DNA to everyone would be extremely safe, and when did ginger hair become an illness, are you using this site to bully a specific group of people? Worst 1st April joke yet, I hope you get fired.

    • Alex Hall

      Ermm… ginger hair is the result of a gene defect. That’s a well-known fact. Apparently.

      • NicolaiLinde

        Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16. The point of the joke is that he offered to remove all traces of red hair from her gene pool.

        • Craig Buckler

          He? Me or the imaginary doctor? Why aren’t you also protecting the choices of those in incestuous relationships? Or those studying in Uzbekistan?

          • NicolaiLinde

            I see so “the imaginary doctor” is at fault for targeting minority groups as a basis for your jokes, not you. Does your clients know you like making fun of people because of their color? You should put a little note on your website claiming “red heads not allowed”, “red goes back in the bus”, or how about “At least Hitler was right about one thing”. When you do something, why not do it properly.

          • Craig Buckler


    • OphelieLechat

      I can confirm that Craig Buckler will *not* be fired.

      • Craig Buckler

        Ahh, but is that an April fool?!

      • NicolaiLinde

        And if he replaced “ginger hair” with “black skin”, would it still be okay?

        • Craig Buckler

          And if I replaced all the words with other words would you still be offended?

          • NicolaiLinde

            That would depend on the words you use, are you saying words don’t mean anything? Because that would explain a lot.

    • Zach

      I find it absolutely amazing how easily people get offended now a days, especially after admitting they know it is a joke.

  • Kevin Cook

    Oy… I knew this was April Fools, but you’re killing me, Craig! Haha

  • Ralph Mason

    “Basic biometric security such as … crotch odor analysis have been available for many years.”

    Yep, my dog uses that one, too.

  • Chu Quang Tú

    Not sure if everything have a finger scan LOL

  • webdevron

    April Fool..

  • I prefer to lost all my accounts rather than acting as a diabetic when using my computer.

  • Carl Vaillancourt

    Craig’s password is “salmonmousse”, that’s the only truth in that post :p

    • Craig Buckler

      Actually, that’s not true either. ‘Salmonmousse’ is the cause of death in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. There are several other hidden references … look for acronyms too.

  • dojoVader

    Hehehehe nice one

  • April’s fool or not the point around the weakness of password and the management of passwords is still pretty valid. While I doubt that bio-metrics are applicable on a large scale when it comes to the online worlds I do think that multi-factor authentication is probably the way to go. Just thinking about how easy it is to implement a token generator with an application like Google Authenticator should be reason enough increasing the security of out systems pass the lone password.

    That being said, security should be at all levels, not just to identify the end user but also to protect their data against multiple breach. The best practices are known and not that hard to implement. It’s surprising so few people actually do it.

Get the latest in Front-end, once a week, for free.