View Full Version : Forgot Your Computer Password Again? Press He

15-10-03, 21:39
By Bernhard Warner, European Internet Correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Attention confounded consumers: there's a high-tech solution that could render obsolete your growing jumble of credit card pin numbers and computer passwords -- and it's as plain as the nose on your face or fingerprint.

The concept is based on biometrics -- a branch of technology that identifies individuals based on biological traits -- and has begun to take off in a security-conscious world where credit card fraud and identity theft runs rife.

Imagine a quick scan of your iris, fingerprint or entire face to authorize a credit card transaction, speed your way through customs at the airport or log you onto your computer.

A host of firms including Minnesota-based Identix Inc. and Paris-based Schlumberger Smart Cards and Terminals built businesses on military and government contracts. But with costs of raw material, computer chips and scanners plummeting, the technology is moving to the high street.

"What will make biometrics practical is the price of the chip," said Derek McDermott, managing director of UK-based ISL Biometrics. He said chip unit costs in the past year have fallen from 40 pounds ($66.79) to four pounds.

The drop in price is expected to attract the interest of cost-conscious consumers and businesses, building the biometrics market into a $4.0 billion segment by 2007, up from $900 million in 2002, according to recent industry studies.


ISL Biometrics has installed fingerprint-recognition technology at over 60 British hospitals, McDermott said.

Some 11,000 National Health Service employees must press their finger to a tiny finger pad on a computer before gaining access to patient information or physical access to the prescription drugs ward, he added.

McDermott said privately held company ISL Biometrics has begun working with large banks and retailers interested in an extra layer of security for the growing number of transactions that take place on the Internet and other data networks.

Currently, most credit card purchases require just a simple password to authorize a transaction, making it increasingly easy for tech-savvy fraudsters to hijack consumers' details and embark on a spending spree that costs banks and retailers billions of dollars annually.

Another area biometrics firms are keen to exploit is the corporate sector.

According to a recent study by Aberdeen Group, large organizations spend as much as $350 per employee annually on computer password management as employees invariably ring the IT "help" crew asking them to reset one of the myriad password codes needed to access the corporate computer network.

Cheap new devices such as mouse pads and laptop cards that come equipped with a tiny fingerprint-matching scanner are being designed to whisk desk drones onto the network.

And, in the near future, most mobile phones and handheld gadgets will be fitted with the same feature, experts say.

"All you'll need is your fingerprint imprint and you'll be on the system in no time," said McDermott.

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15-10-03, 22:39
I would really welcome this change. You need to have so many passwords these days, but if you're like me, you tend to use the same one for almost everything. Otherwise, you'd have to write them down, carry them in your wallet, & if it got stolen, the thieves have them all anyway. I have a PIN/password for: 2 ATM's, phone card, home security system, office security system, numerous accounts on the Internet that for some unknown reason require you to have a password...just to make themselves feel important somehow, I think...I know I've left a bunch out. The password on my computer at the office changes every 30 days...I write it down & put it in my desk drawer just to remember it. I'll bet most of the other people in my office do the same thing, so how secure is that? Ok, I'll stop ranting now...got it all out of my system! Thanks, Neil. :D ;)

15-10-03, 22:49
Its the same here but I have 6 different usernames at work for different things, and its bad trying to remember which one to use.

16-10-03, 00:55
Ummm..yes, they have, I understand, some very GOOD drugs for those symptoms these days... :D :eek:

16-10-03, 01:13
Funny story, now (although it wasn't then) related to this...We were away for the weekend..hubby comes home (he's the one who has trouble ALL the time punching in a 7-digit phone number)...punches in the 4-digit alarm code for the house...doesn't work...computerized voice tells him it is an error...punches it again...alarm won't accept it...siren starts to howl. (He's in a p'od mood anyway cuz he's not had his coffee & is not a morning person at all.) Alarm howling, phone rings...alarm tech on the other end of the line...Guy asks him for a password...I don't think I ever told him there was a password...he didn't know it. Guy on the other end, rightly, doesn't know if this is the homeowner or a burglar. Alarm still screaming...finally stops. (Stops after 4 1/2 minutes, & then will start up again, apparently). Husband thinks...ok. they've shut it off at source..relaxes a bit. Sees cat on doorstep...opens door, alarm starts screanimg again. He then grabs a pair of scissors, cuts wires, alarm does stop. He relaxes. Heads back to town, sees police heading out our way with sirens screeching, lights flashing. Turns around, follows them, sure enough, our house. Explains the story to them, they laugh, & leave. (small town) Cost to fix alarm...$450... Moral of the story...I am hiding all the scissors!!!