Sorry, Biometrics Alone Will Not Be Replacing the Password


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yes, you may be able to unlock your iPhone 6 with your fingerprint, but don't expect biometrics to replace the traditional password anytime soon.

At a panel discussion during Cantor Fitzgerald's Internet & Technology Conference, Emmanuel Schalit, the CEO of password manager Dashlane proclaimed that the password is here to stay as the de facto standard for security, despite the hype around biometrics and consumer log-ins like Facebook Connect.

Schalit compared the password to the QWERTY keyboard, saying that some things just never change because that's the way it's always been done.

"There is no law that makes us work the standard way but today there are 650 million websites that use logins and passwords because that's a free system, nobody owns it, and it's very simple to use," he said. "For better or worse we are probably going to have to deal with passwords for a very long time."

When asked about the growing popularity of biometrics like Apple's fingerprint technology, Schalit dismissed it as both unsafe and far from being a standard. He cited a story where hackers took a high definition photo of the German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen and were able to obtain a fingerprint from the image that could access her identity.

"If your five fingerprints are stolen you can't cut your fingers and replace them with a new one," he said.

The other issue with biometrics, per Schalit, is that there is no standard and there is an overwhelming number of systems clouding the technology and making it hard to become more widespread.

In addition to biometrics, another notion that has been offered as a substitute for the password is a consumer log-in like Facebook Connect, which lets users log-in to third party sites and applications through their Facebook identity. The problem with that alternative is that most consumers would not feel comfortable logging into their bank with Facebook Connect, Schalit explained.

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