The Next Big Thing
A new era for passwordsBrian Cooley tells you why two-factor identification is becoming a common reality for password protection.
[MUSIC] Two passwords, twice as good or more than one. I'm Brian Cooley from CNet in search of the next big thing. For decades now, we've been logging onto sites, services and increasingly apps using a password. And for decades now we've noticed that hacks both individual and broad scale have proven that passwords don't work really well. Enter the new era or two-factor authentications, in two-factor authentication you are given this Special random password to use with your memorized one. It has three criteria about it that make it very special. First of all, the two-factor authentication password arrives on your phone. Your phone is a device we can ostensibly assume is always in your possession and has its own password keeping it from other prying eyes. Secondly, the two-factor password is usually random, much harder for someone to guess or hack by traditional means. And third, it expires. Most of these secondary passwords have a life of about one minute. So, even if they do fall into someone else's hands it can't do them much good. Importantly, Amazon just offered its customers the option to secure their accounts this way with two-factor authentication. And large corporations have been doing something along these lines for a number of years. Many of them use a separate little dongle that has an LED display which is constantly getting these random authentication texts sent to it. The idea is the same under the coverage though. Is two-factor authentication more cumbersome than what we do now? Absolutely. But in a world where year after year studies show our favorite self-chosen passwords are "password" or 123456 We've done our part to bring this on ourselves. Know what's next at CNET.com's/NextBigThing. I'm Brian Cooley. [SOUND]