Google are claimed to be testing a potential new approach to computer security, with the method reported to be a way to open email and site user accounts without having to remember any passwords.
While this might seem like a less instantly-frustrating but much more long-term weight of stress to literally carry around, the search engine giant are stating that they are taking every caution with the production of the ‘Yubikey’ cryptographic card. The product fits into any USB port, and is designed to act similarly to a house key.
Google have noted that while the Yubikey will ‘significantly reduce’ , there is still the physical danger of it being lost or stolen. The stick is noted as working by registering the USB entry with one mouse click like many others, and presumably remembers all passwords when they are entered (or collects archived records and stores them where applicable).
Google do note, however, that they did need to make slight modifications to their own-brand web browser Google Chrome in order for the technology to work, so there may still be some work to be done to make it an all-encompassing product that recognises rival browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox as well as their own.
Google developers Eric Grosse and Mayank Upadhyay said of their potential innovation: “Along with many in the industry, we feel passwords and simple bearer tokens such as cookies are no longer sufficient to keep users safe. We’d like your smartphone or smartcard-embedded finger ring to authorise a new computer via a tap on the computer, even in situations in which your phone might be without cellular connectivity. We’ll have to have some form of screen unlock, maybe passwords but maybe something else, but the primary authenticator will be a token like this or some equivalent piece of hardware.”
The pair go on to suggest that Yubikey is merely a prototype for what could be to come, hoping that they can eventually implement the technology wirelessly via a portable device (such as a smartphone) or embedded into a small unsuspecting item (such as jewellery). While more information is expected to be revealed by the end of the month, will it be a sufficient reassurance that a USB stick is the best way to beat online security worries?