PayPal Hints at Plans to End Passwords

May 13, 2013, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Don’t you miss the days when you could trust using your birthday as a password? Now every website wants you to register a password with what seems like a minimum of three letters (at least one capital), six non-sequential numbers, a punctuation mark and a hieroglyphic.

PayPal’s chief information security officer Michael Barrett alluded to the idea of getting rid of such complicated passwords during a speech at the Interop IT conference. He sees biometrics becoming an essential part of Internet security.

Barrett also serves as the president of the Fast Identity Online Alliance (commonly known as FIDO). This organization is working towards a new form of identity verification that involves both software and hardware. In their setup, users have to use USB drives or fingerprints to prove who they are, on top of using a password or plugin. While Barrett did not mention this technology specifically in his speech, one can only assume this is what he is trying to get PayPal to adopt.

The transition to alternative verification systems will not happen any time soon. Even if PayPal decides to include FIDO’s program into their security, they will have to ensure that the technology is available on the large-scale. It may take years for every home and business in America to have the same hardware on hand, and then there will be need for worldwide expansion.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 13, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.