Death of the Password

On a laptop near you, security systems based on our mothers' maiden names are not very secure. Today, we look at some of the ideas people are coming up with to either boost password security, or replace it with something better.

Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current


It's Friday August 12th.

Canada is expelling all diplomats tied to Muammar Gaddafi's regime from the Libyan embassy in Ottawa - and could soon accept a new envoy representing the Libyan people.

Currently, those interested in the job? Pretty much everyone in Libya.

This is the Current.

Death of the Password - Markus Jakobsson

It's been tough to keep to yourself this summer. The News of the World phone hacking scandal showed how easy it was for snoops to look into the personal lives of royalty and minor celebrities.

One hacking group altered the websites of both Fox and PBS and even released the names and passwords of users of a United States Senate website. The security firm McAfee revealed the governments of the U.S.and Canada along with 12 defence contractors were penetrated over a five year period, possibly by Chinese hackers. So if governments and powerful companies can't protect themselves, how can the average user keep intruders out of their laptops?

Many people have relied on a secret password. But that's a concept that's beginning to sound absurd. Markus Jakobsson says it's no wonder passwords don't work - they were almost designed to fail from the start. He's a security researcher and the author of Crimeware: Understanding new Attacks and Defenses. He was in Malmo, Sweden.

Death of the Password - Jason Perlow

So it turns out no matter how creatively you named your first pet -- or how many vowels are in your mother's maiden name -- the days of password protection may be over.

To talk more about the alternatives for keeping information safe online, we were joined by Jason Perlow, the Senior Technology Editor at ZDNet. He was in New York City.

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