If the past year has been any indication, passwords are not a secure way to use the internet. Between hacking, phishing, social engineering and brute force attacks, it’s almost commonplace to have an account stolen these days. Google is among a number of companies that wants to kill the password and replace it with alternative solutions, and the search giant is testing a new process for users to log into their accounts using only their mobile devices.
One Android user with an invite posted a Google Doc showing how the process works. Users authorize their phones (which must have a lock screen of some sort to work). When they log in to Google, they receive a notification on the phone that there is an attempt to be signed in, and they can approve or deny the request.
“We’ve invited a small group of users to help test a new way to sign-in to their Google accounts, no password required,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge. “‘Pizza,’ ‘password,’ and ‘123456’ — your days are numbered.”
You can still log in with a regular password while participating in the program, and Google is providing instructions on how to deactivate lost or old devices and activate new ones.
Google is far from the only company making an attempt to bring the era of the password to an end. Intel’s True Key technology lets you log in to your accounts with unique identifiers like your face, a fingerprint or, like Google’s new solution, a second device. Google is also appropriating liberally from Yahoo’s approach, Yahoo Account Key, which was announced in October and sends login notifications to a second device.
If you’re not ready to give up your passwords just yet, many internet companies are supporting two-factor authentication, which sends a code via SMS or app to confirm that you are trying to log in, and Password Managers can help you store long, hard-to-crack passwords without the need to remember them.
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