PayPal is developing new ways to provide customers with an efficient and more secure method of accessing their online accounts without the use of passwords.
In his recent presentation titled Kill all Passwords, Jonathan LeBlanc, PayPal's head of global developer advocacy, said that using passwords for security is no longer safe for people. This is why passwords should be replaced with biometric identification systems such as embeddable, injectable, and ingestible devices that would allow "natural body identification."
LeBlanc pointed out that dependence on passwords has become more complicated since people are often required to come up with unique combinations consisting of uppercase and lowercase letters, a number and a symbol in the eight-character sequence.
The more online accounts you have in different websites, the more passwords you will need. This makes remembering passwords more difficult, leading people to create simpler combinations that are easier to recall but offer minimal security.
Among the most common passwords used by people in 2014, two of the top combinations are "123456" and "password."
LeBlanc stated in an interview that passwords are broken and that the concepts and methods behind username and password verification should be replaced.
"If there's a weak password you need to harden that with something physical behind it," he said.
To address the problem of security, LeBlanc suggested that alternative methods should be seriously considered.
One of the current procedures being developed is a wireless silicon chip that can be inserted in the body. This chip can contain ECG sensors that will monitor the distinct electrical activity of the heart, and relay it through wireless antennae to "wearable computer tattoos."
Another method is through the use of ingestible capsules that can monitor the levels of glucose and other unique internal features of the body. These capsules can then identify them and transmit the information out which would then be encrypted to protect it from hacking.
For its part, PayPal has begun working with technological companies in developing ways to effectively scan the veins in people's hands and arms, or measure and recognize the unique heartbeat of individuals in order to establish safer access to online accounts.
While PayPal is taking steps in leading the discussion on new technologies for biometric verification, LeBlanc said that it does not necessarily mean that the company is considering adopting them.
"I can't speculate as to what PayPal will do in the future, but we're looking at new techniques - we do have fingerprint scanning that is being worked on right now - so we're definitely looking at the identity field," he said.
LeBlanc admitted that it may take a while before cultural norms catch up with the concepts behind ingestible and injectable identification devices, but he did express his optimism that they are achievable.
Photo: OTA Photos | Flickr