UK - Why Passwords Don’t Work

Arno Froese

Identity theft is at an all-time high in the UK. The UK’s fraud prevention service CIFAS recorded 190,000 cases in the past year, as our increasingly digitized lives make it easier than ever for fraudsters to get their hands on our personal information.

So how should we keep our identities secure online? The first line of defense is, more often than not, a password.

Microsoft announced last year that the company planned to kill off the password, using biometrics or a special security key.

IT research firm Gartner predicts that by 2022, 60% of large businesses and almost all medium-sized companies will have cut their dependence on passwords by half.

Not only would getting rid of passwords improve security, it would also mean IT departments would not have to spend valuable time and money resetting forgotten passwords.

New rules laid down by the EU [include] the updated Payment Services Directive, known as PSD2, require businesses to use at least two factors when authenticating a customer’s identity.

Biometrics offer a more frictionless consumer experience, but has been held back by the need for specialized equipment. With the latest smartphones, many of us now carry the necessary hardware in our pockets. Research by Deloitte has found that a fifth of UK residents own a smartphone capable of scanning fingerprints, and that number is rising fast.

Yet just as our personal data is vulnerable to thieves, biometric information can also be stolen. In September, Chinese researchers at a cybersecurity conference in Shanghai showed it was possible to capture someone’s fingerprints from a photo taken from several meters away.

If you think resetting your password is difficult, try changing your fingerprints.

To boost security, companies are increasingly relying on multiple factor authentication (MFA) which seeks to identify people using as many different ways as possible.

“Is biometrics going to replace passwords? No, a combination of factors is going to replace passwords, we are and we should be moving toward this,” says Ali Niknam, chief executive of Bunq, a mobile banking service.

Yet there is a risk of that this sort of multi-factor authentication, while secure, will make the authentication process even more opaque. If you don’t know what is being used to identify you online, how can you protect that information?, 29 October 2019

Arno's commentary

Identity is just what we may call an evolution toward the ultimate identity, as recorded in Scripture: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). To implement such an elaborate system, the world will have to be more unified. And here comes Mr. Merchandiser, who has already created a global market. There are only some little stumbling stones to be taken out of the way.

Happy is he who has his identity recorded in heaven, where his citizenship is guaranteed eternally: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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