Friday, October 24, 2014

Twitter's Digits wants to free your mind from passwords

Passwords have become a burden of the modern digital age we're living, but there are people trying to get rid of those and make life simpler to us all. Now, Twitter hopes to do that with its new Digits authentication service that requires no password.

Wherever you look, we're surrounded by apps and sites that require passwords. But passwords are also one of the most vulnerable points hackers use to gain access to you data - remember the iCloud celebrity photos case?) The problem being that most people still use easy to guess passwords, or use the same passwords in different services.

With Digits Twitter hopes to make passwords irrelevant. How? Well... you can think of it as a 2-step authentication, without the first step. Instead of requiring you to enter your password, Digits skips directly to the second step, where you simply need to enter a numeric code that will be sent to your mobile phone.

This code is good for one use only, so you won't have to worry someone may found it later on; and with no password in sight you don't have to rely on memorizing dozens of passwords, or use a single one on multiple services, or even rely on a password management service that may end up being a vulnerable point that puts all your passwords in danger.

The key point here is to see if developers do embrace this Twitter service - considering its track record with developers has took a turn for the worse in the past years. After welcoming them to create all sorts of Twitter related apps and services, it began to shut them down, restricting what they could do, how many users they can have on their apps, etc.

I'm sure some won't hesitate to jump aboard this Digit and other features Twitter is providing in their Fabric SDK; but many won't be so forgiving and won't easily trust Twitter again (if ever).

But, from an end user's perspective, how much would you be willing to let go of your passwords and simply rely on a SMS message and your phone number for authentication?

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