In this day and age, where phishing and cybercrime are rampant, big tech wants us to rid ourselves of passwords. Wait, what!?
Okay, so it's not as dramatic as it sounds, but big tech is on a mission. A study by the Ponemon Institute and IBM Security found that the average cost of a single data breach in the U.S. was more than $8 million. According to another report by Verison, 29% of the 2,013 confirmed data breaches it researched involved the use of stolen credentials.
So passwords are a serious and expensive security risk. It goes beyond hacking though as Merritt Maxim, vice president and research director at Forrester, says, “Our research has shown that the average fully loaded cost of a help desk call to reset a password is anywhere between $40 or $50 per call. Generally speaking, a typical employee contacts a help desk somewhere between 6 and 10 times a year on password related issues. So, if you just do the simple multiplication of six to 10 times, times 50 dollars per call, times number of employees in your organization, you’re talking significantly hundreds of thousands of dollars or even potentially millions of dollars a year.”
Research conducted in 2019 showed that the average office worker in the United States needs to remember between 20 and 40 different username and password combinations, so it's no surprise that help desks receive so many calls. The other problem is that most of these usernames and passwords are either exactly the same or variations of the same.
This is why big tech, like Google, Microsoft and Apple are trying to get rid of them by pushing users towards biometric security. They reckon fingerprints, facial recognition and retina scanning is far more difficult to hack. That's why all of their latest products, from mobile phones to computers, offer at least one of these alternatives for users to use.
The CNBC video below dives deeper into this drive to stamp out passwords, and what benefits the alternatives offer.
There is, of course, many who are not fans of these and other companies collecting biometric data. Their arguments include the fact that hackers will find a way to breach this type of security, and then it's not just a password that needs to be reset. The fact that personal information, like your fingerprint, retina scan and face will then be compromised is alarming.
Technology will march on, regardless of whether we embrace it, sit on the fence, or are a member of the conspiracy theorists who are convinced it's part of new world order. Heck, most of the time we don't even realise that we're already swimming in it...