Gates: Passwords passe

Passwords will soon be a thing of the past, replaced by biometric and smart-card technology, Bill Gates reiterated on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Microsoft IT Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Microsoft chair predicted that people will soon rely on alternative means of authenticating their identity. "A major problem for identity systems is the weakness of passwords," Gates said. "Unfortunately, with the type of critical information (protected by) these systems, we aren't going to be able to rely on passwords. Moving to biometric and smart cards is a wave that is coming, and we see our leading customers doing this."

Gates added that Microsoft plans to issue smart cards to its employees for accessing the company building and their computers. The system will be based on Microsoft's .Net technology. "In time, we will completely replace passwords," Gates said. "Having the .Net capability, we are very excited to see smart cards moving into this framework." Smart cards contain a microchip that stores data. They have been used in cell phones and for online banking, among other things. Biometric technology is based on recognizing people's unique physical characteristics, such as facial structure or fingerprints, to authenticate identity.

News source: C|Net

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