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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Google buys Slicklogin ..... login with sounds rather than words

Before you start reading this post, recall – how many User ID login and passwords had to be remembered…. In our increasing dependence on e-World and e-tools, one needs to have multiple applications; login IDs, and of course passwords……… for keeping your identity in tact, one should use long passwords that contain digits, punctuation and no recognizable words. Make up a different password for every Web site. And change all of your passwords every 30 days ~ every Security pundit would advise you.  Reads simple as we struggle in our existence in a multiple passwords for Credit cards; Bank accounts; access to smart phones; e-mail IDs; blogs; Twitter; Facebook; Linked In; office computer; lotus notes and more……. most people use the same password over and over again, and live with the guilt.

In 1956 was released the blockbuster ‘Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum’  directed and produced by T. R. Sundaram.  With M. G. Ramachandran and P. Bhanumathi in the lead roles;  P. S. Veerappa, K. A. Thangavelu and M. G. Chakrapani play supporting roles, the first colour film in Tamil depicting the story of a poor woodcutter ran to packed houses.  It was based on the popular Arabic  folk-tale.  In the story, Ali Baba, a poor woodcutter discovers the secret of a thieves' den, enters it  with the phrase "Open Sesame".  Elsewhere is the news that like its namesake -- Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is hoping to gain access to a treasure trove in the US with the pending launch of its business-to-consumer e-commerce site 11Main.com.

It is the ‘password’ - a word or string of characters used for user authentication to prove identity or access approval to gain access to a resource, which should be kept secret from those not allowed access. The use of passwords is not something totally new. Even in old kingdoms, Sentries would challenge those wishing to enter an area or approaching it to supply a password or watchword, and would only allow a person or group to pass if they knew the password. Though so named ‘Password’  need not be actual words ! The term passcode is sometimes used when the secret information is purely numeric, such as the personal identification number (PIN) commonly used for ATM access. Passwords are generally short enough to be easily memorized and typed.

One should memorise the passwords and should keep them in a manner that they are not guessed easily, especially by those who know your personal details.  The best possible passwords should ideally include capital as well as lower case letters, numerical, as also special characters and better if they do not follow a pattern. Recently, when Apple introduced its iPhone 5S, the novelty was its futuristic Touch ID — a new fingerprint identity sensor. They claimed that ‘put your finger on the Home button, and just like that your iPhone unlocks’ ~ touted to be convenient and highly secure way to access your phone.

Now comes the news that Google has bought an Israel-based start-up specialising in using sounds instead of passwords for logging in. The parties – ‘SlickLogin’ and ‘Google’  did not disclose financial terms of the deal. "We started SlickLogin because security measures had become overly complicated and annoying," the start-up's three-member team said in a post on their website. The SlickLogin trio in Tel Aviv said they are joining the Google team with the mission of making the internet safer for people while keeping the login process easy. The founders of the company are billed as products of the cyber security unit of the Israel Defence Forces.

SlickLogin is barely two months old and has yet to field a commercial product but is reported to be developing a way to protect online accounts with a technique akin to sonic handshakes. The technology involves sending barely audible sounds through computer speakers and then having the users' smartphones recognise the unique tones and respond in kind. It also reportedly factors in the location of smartphones. "Just place your phone next to your laptop [or] tablet and you can login," SlickLogin said. SlickLogin technology could replace passwords in some cases but is more likely to be looked at for use as an added layer of security in what is referred to as "two-factor authentication" to thwart cybercriminals.

In a drama, S.Ve. Shekher would in his inimical style mention of ‘family song’ – which would help reuniting people lost in young age. In the climax, when the song sung, suddenly five people would be seen running in the street – just as one wonders – how one lost child has turned in to so many, barring one, rest would run and stand in the milk queue……… passwords are part of our lives..


With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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