News Column

DARPA Trying to Eliminate the Computer Password

August 12, 2014

VOA News

August 12, 2014 3:06 PM -- Hackers around the world are getting better at stealing passwords so computer scientists are trying to find a replacement for the next biggest computer nuisance after the system crash.

The U.S. Military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, responsible for the creation of the Internet, is financially backing several research projects aiming to send passwords into computer history.

Within the "Active Authentication Project" scientists are looking to utilize some of the many hidden signs that characterize each person and cannot be repeated by anyone else.

For instance, the way we handle our smartphones, the tremor of our hands and movements as we manipulate phones, can be read by sensors. The phone could "remember" those signs, actively monitor them and automatically lock when someone else tries to use it.

Other teams of scientists are trying to teach our computers and smartphones how to recognize our style of writing, words that we use, how we construct sentences and errors that we make.

Still another concept will ask the owner to say a phrase instead of typing a password, sensing not only the words but also the subtle differences in tone and articulation.

DARPA says the projects have had very good results and that some of the largest computer and smartphone manufacturers have expressed interest in incorporating them into new devices.

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Original headline: Scientists Trying to Do Away With Passwords


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