5.30.2016

Google Continues Working Towards the Elimination of Passwords

Real-time user tracking utilized for the greater good?
Google Introduces Project Abacus at I/O 2015

Google imagines a world where we don’t have to make, remember and change long, complex passwords. Rather than passwords and two-factor authentication, Project Abacus will instead monitor how you use your phone as a means of authentication. This might include keystroke speed, speech patterns, location, walk rhythm, facial features and just about anything else the phone can sense. These different metrics will be used to create a “Trust Score” used to prove your identity.

The tech giant’s head of Advanced Technology and Projects Daniel Kaufman, said that Google has created a Trust API to be released in June for beta customers. If the beta is successful, Project Abacus will be available for all Android users by 2017.

"Project Abacus will be available for all Android users by 2017."

Senior Executive Regina Dugan said the Trust API will be used for opening apps and locking or unlocking your phone. She then claimed the system is ten times more secure than fingerprint sensors (some of which can be fooled by an inkjet printer) and one hundred times safer than 4-digit pin codes (so about as secure as 6-digits ones, then?)

This is example of security through diversity. Phones these days contain microphones, gyroscopes and other features with the sole purpose of collecting data. Using multiple metrics like this has the potential to be much more secure than standard two-factor authentication (typically a password and a link in an email).