In this digital world, most of the people are not away from digital devices starting from mobile phones to cloud servers. How do people use all these gadgets securely? And what makes people use them securely. If you press the word ‘security’, One thing always stands first, that is authentication. You may need to prove your identity before using it if there is any authentication is in place. Now you have got me what I mean. The ‘password’, the most common way of authentication till today. And, do you know an interesting thing, this is one of the most vulnerable things that hackers are always interested in. Various studies showed that attacks against passwords are kept increasing year after year. In support of that, many popular companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, and many more started encouraging password-less logins. Some of you may wonder when I say ‘password-less login’ and several questions may arise, how secure is that, how does it work, how reliable is that? And maybe even more. It’s quite obvious to think so. Let’s see five such best password alternatives to use.
This article takes you to such five best password alternatives that you can set up for login:
1. Multi-Factor Authentication:
We can’t tell this is a clear best password alternative. We have included MFA “Multi-factor Authentication” in this list as it replaces traditional password with a PIN or OTP. It is very straight as the name says. In this form of authentication, the user needs to supply more than one factor or element to prove his/her identity. Before this, let’s back into the traditional way of authentication, wherein you just enter login name and password to login is said to be single-factor authentication or SFA a subset of multi-factor authentication. An another most prevalent subset of this type is two-factor authentication or in simple 2FA. It is gaining a lot of popularity as this is proved to be more secure than SFA by adding an additional layer of security, making it harder for bad guys to log in as if they were you. The market is flooded with plenty of two-factor authenticator applications. Most popular ones are Microsoft’s Authenticator and google’s authenticator.
A couple of real world examples:
Here is a couple of real-world examples which would give you a clear idea about the multi-factor authentication:
1. ATM cash withdrawal: Where you need to insert a card and enter the PIN.
2. Log in to a system which asks to enter a PIN sent to your email, phone as a text message, or could be random tokens after username and password.
2. Biometric Authentication:
This is the perfect example of the best password alternative. A second most prevalent type of authentication. This is the authentication method where the user needs to prove his/her identity by providing his/her biological data as proof. This concept is consistently developing with time and experts says it is going to be used more in the feature. But, there is always a risk of stealing biological data and use it for illegal activities.
- Touch ID
- Face ID
- Fingerprint login
- DNA Matching
- Behavioural recognition
- Retina, pulse and many more.
3. Password Managers:
Although this doesn’t fit into this list of the best password alternatives. We have included this as in some cases it doesn’t let you enter the password manually.
Need of a password manager in real world example:
As more as you started using the internet, you may need to use more and more accounts. Today, from dating site to secure banking site, nearly every site you use insists you create a user account. And, there is no end to this. This would lead you to remember dozens and dozens of password, which is a troublesome task for the human brain. To overcome this, some folks use simplest passwords like ‘12345678’ or ‘password’ as these were easy to remember. And, others may memorize their own complex password and use it everywhere. Both these methods were likely to fall in trouble or compromise your accounts.
Hold on, don’t be scared, there is a way to manage this problem in a secure way. Act like a smart, take a wise man’s decision. Use password managers. Password managers help you in many ways, it secures all your passwords, generate random passwords, and store your login and apply the correct password during login. Additionally, some password managers are smart enough to make your login without your control. It’s some sort of small automation, isn’t it? Password managers could be paid as well as free. If you ask about the downside of using password managers, You can’t lose the master key. If you lost it, you would lose the whole set of things. We have listed some of the best password managers underneath which we urge you to take a look and if possible, buy it.
4. A Personal USB Key:
Have you ever see any hacking movie in which a guy will unlock and lock a computer just by plugging a small USB stick? If you have seen this, then you are correct. It isn’t that difficult to convert a regular USB drive into your password. Just visit Predator’s site. This program allows you to create a USB stick which can enable you to login without typing password and lock your computer when you pull out the device from the computer. This is not just the end. There are a plethora of options to explore and make use of it. Bear in mind, there is a serious caveat in this method. If you lost the USB stick, then you are going to lose access to the computer. Probably, you may need to flash the OS or break the password like a hacker. Don’t be scare if you lost the USB drive, We have some cool methods to recover the password.
5. SSH Key:
This method can’t be used as a substitute for local login. This authentication is not feasible for common use to log in a personal laptop, phone, tablet, and a smart TV. Authentication with SSH keys can be a little more complex in setting up them but helps increase security when logging into a cloud or remote server.
Let’s break this complex concept into a few simple things:
1. First and foremost, you need to create a pair of keys. Public and Private keys. There are several ways to create a key pair.
2. Keep the private key on your computer and transfer the public key to the remote computer you want to log into.
3. When you attempt to log in, the server will check for the public key and then generate a random string and encrypt it using this public key. This encrypted message can only be decrypted with the associated private key.
4. The server will send this encrypted message to your computer. Upon receipt of the message, your computer will decrypt it using the private key and send this message back to the server. If everything matches up, you’re good to go. A bit more involved than password authentication, Isn’t it?
In conclusion, we can list several of types of authentication without typing password, But, that doesn’t mean there is no password at all. Where there is an authentication, there is a password, but in different forms. To answer which is the best password alternative for you. The easiest answer is, all. That’s not fully correct either. Actual answer is purely depends upon what system you have and which type of authentication your system supports.
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