Bill Gates Sees an End to Passwords
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Speaking this week at the European IT Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates explained that the weakness of the password is a mayor issue in securing any identity system, with passwords being used today as the sole means of identifying who you are. But with increasing demand for more secure systems, and changing regulations, moving to biometric identification and particularly in moving to smart cards, is a way that is coming.
"One of the key elements for us is to have a smart card that really connects up in the best possible way to the Microsoft platform," Gates said. "Therefore, I am announcing today a .NET based smart card. We have a key partner here, Axalto who have done a super job on this. In fact, Microsoft itself will be using their smart cards internally and in all of our access to our premises. Each employee will have a smart card and will use the same smart card to get in and out of the buildings as we use to connect up to our machines."
"Over time, we will completely replace passwords, where even the internal access will be done through this smart card," Gates continued. "We are very excited to see our smart cards moving into the mainstream and connecting up to our infrastructure."
Smart cards are credit-card sized cards that contain a microchip to store data. Biometric technology uses people's unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial structure or other characteristics.
There is a simple reason why password based security systems need to be changed; people can't be trusted with passwords. Walk past a number of desks in a company, and you'll quickly get the point: an alarming number of PC's will have Post-It notes affixed to their monitors, noting the passwords used. People are also given so many passwords for different systems and accounts that they have to write them down, creating a security risk in the process.
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