Made-up Question: What about Biometrics?
Biometrics are the creation and usage of a microchip that contains your uniquely identifying biological personal information, such as a scan of your retina or fingerprint. They can be used instead of passwords. Basically, you are scanned, a chip is created and then optimized programmatically to fit like a key, into a lock that has been programmed to accept your "key" (such as your laptop or iPhone).
First off, they are not easy to use. ASUS has been providing fingerprint laptop entry for years and I bought one about 6 years ago. Unfortunately, my own fingerprints are not that clear due to many years of piano and violin "fingerprint erasure," so entry into my personal laptop can take 8 or 10 tries.
"Ethical Hackers" hacked into the Samsung Galaxy's fingerprint module to make their point about the hackability of fingerprint scans being used as passwords. In this (linked) article, PayPal supports fingerprint scanning stating that it is the most secure method for entry. PayPal is our most trusted online payment transaction company, so this is a bit upsetting to me that they aren't even questioning the technology and its implications for security breach.
Our textbook mentions a fingerprint misidentification issue that happened on March 11, 2004, when the FBI linked a partial fingerprint to an attorney from Portland Oregon. The FBI on behalf of the Spanish police entered his home numerous times, took whatever documents and possessions they wanted from him without a search warrant, took DNA samples, and arrested him for bombing trains in Spain. It turned out he had nothing to do with it. It was the partial fingerprint which was used to completely devastate his life, possessions, and personal records.
I personally do not like personalization when I go to online stores such as Amazon.com, and see all the things their analytics engine thinks I might want to buy. I am much more interested in seeing new, different things, or specifics about which I went shopping. In the future, it is predicted that Biometrics will be used the way they were shown in the movie Minority Report, wherein Tom Cruise walked into a Gap store, was greeted electronically by name, and then shown an array of clothing in his size and according to his taste. Is this the convenience of a personal valet, or is it an intrusion? What if your data is stolen - it is far more personal than a wallet.
I have also been reading about the risks of hackers getting access to biological devices such as fitbits and pacemakers that report out to websites and recording devices. They could cause malicious heart attacks and stokes. The lesson here is that anything you wear or use, that is on the grid, can be hacked, including your identity. Biometrics creates an entirely new set of ethical and personal risks from hackers, commerce, and from all governing authorities just getting too much info about who we are, and what we do, 24/7.
Post 3 by Michael: Made Up Question: How are companies improving log-in security protocols?