Zero Knowledge Proof: Are Passwords Becoming Extinct?

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Zero Knowledge Proof: Are Passwords Becoming Extinct?Passwords are getting hacked at a rapid pace and our digital data isn’t as safe as we’d like it to be. It seems easier than ever to hack a password, but can digital thieves hack our fingerprints and iris scans?

Maybe we should be using other criteria to login to our accounts. Criteria that cannot be duplicated by others. Criteria that is extremely unique to each individual. Perhaps iris scans and fingerprints are just what the digital world needs to safely unlock the online world. Thus, Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) is created.

Article Overview

What Is Zero Knowledge Proof?

Essentially, it’s getting around the need to use passwords in the first place. FIDO stands for Fast IDentity Online. It is a group of businesses that work on reducing the dependency of passwords to authenticate an online account.

The alliance includes big name companies like Google, Microsoft and MasterCard. They have created products that abide by the Zero Knowledge Proof protocol, which keeps fingerprint and iris scans protected. Items like key fobs are created with the data and are virtually impossible to hack digitally. This may sound familiar. Maybe you’re recalling Apple’s iPhone Touch ID technology? Think Apple’s Touch ID but a whole new level since it would be usable for all online accounts and include your unique iris and fingerprint scans.

Want to see how this privacy technology could change your life? Check out this video from DoCoMo. It’s a little cheesy, but you’ll get the point 😉 .

The Cons to Zero Knowledge Proof

  • Maybe it creeps you out that you’ll have your iris and fingerprint scanned.
  • Using a second device (for multi-factor, or two-factor authentication) is convenient and seems to be safer than only using a password, so why the need for Zero Knowledge?
  • Carrying around a key fob or USB may be inconvenient.
  • If the technology is too difficult, users may become frustrated with their sign in process.

As with any new system, there’s always a learning curve and people are resistant to change. But keeping your online data safe and secure is extremely important, especially as more and more data moves into the digital stratosphere. As we evolve so does technology. Does that mean that we will no longer use passwords and instead login to our accounts with only fingerprint and eye scans? Sounds like a science fiction movie come to life!

What’s The Problem With Passwords?

We’d like to think that we’re all creative when it comes to creating passwords. That our password is so unique and so original that no one can hack it. Unfortunately, we’re wrong. We’re not as imaginative as we think we are and these password statistics prove it.

  • The most common password is “password”
  • 74% of people use the same password multiple times on multiple sites
  • 91% of passwords are among the 1,000 most common (qwerty, password, 12345, etc.)
  • Only 44% of users change their passwords after the account is created, the rest keep the password the same forever
  • More than 50% of people forget their passwords
  • 80% of security incidents are a result of a weak admin passwords
  • Hackers can guess a 6 character, lower case password in less than 10 minutes

The Price of Password Hacks

  • A total of $113 billion is spent for the global consumers when their password is hacked
  • An average of $5.4 billion is spent each time there is a data security incident for a business in the U.S.
  • Identity theft victims spend more than 500 hours and $3,000 cleaning up the mess hackers leave behind

What Is Two Factor Authentication And Why Is It Important?

Two factor authentication (2FA) is a form of security where you must authenticate your account twice. First with the original password you have chosen and second with a generated code that changes every 30 seconds or so. So when logging into an account you will enter your password then the site will prompt you for your second “password” which is most commonly generated through an app or sent via text to your phone. Two factor authentication is stronger than the typical login process of entering username and password because there are two levels of security that a hacker must beat to gain access to your data. Is there an even safer way to secure your data?

Is The Password Dead? Infographic

This infographic provides a great look at the evolution of passwords and where they could be heading in the future.

Infographic: Is the password dead?

What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

Do I really need to worry about all this? What’s the worst that can happen if my password gets stolen? Well, depending on what the login was for (bank account, credit card, mortgage payment), it can be pretty bad. Check out our ID theft horror stories for some real life exapmles of what could go wrong.

Do you see a future without traditional passwords?

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert, and has been researching and writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what's happening behind the scenes.

In 2018, she had her first child, and that opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing products and services.

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anonymous user
June 7, 2016 3:51 pm

It baffles me why people don’t use more secure, unique passwords for things these days. I mean, it’s the 21st century, get with it people! Your password should never, I repeat never be “password” unless your an idiot and want to get hacked in which case then you deserve it, ha!