Yahoo has just unveiled a new system that bypasses the need for a password when logging into Yahoo Mail. The new service, which has been dubbed "on demand passwords," simply sends you a password on an as-needed basis, eliminating the need to remember long strings of letters and numbers.
Many companies have started to implement two-factor authentication in an effort to stop people hacking into other's accounts, with much success. As an intruder, having to command two devices rather than just an email account is far harder and gives the user a piece of mind. Of course, two factor authentication can still be bypassed, but it remains far safer than the traditional method.
"On demand" passwords seem to strike a balance between security and convenience, requiring the users phone in order to gain access to email. Dylan Casey, VP of Consumer Platforms at Yahoo, told CNET that the new system is "the first step to eliminating passwords."
Yahoo doesn't expect users to starting using on demand password immediately, however. Passwords are deeply engrained in the public psyche, despite their weaknesses, with services such as 1Password offering lengthy, hard-to-crack passwords. Getting users to trust the new system is going to be a challenge, but it one Yahoo is aware of. Yahoo's information security chief, Alex Stamos, told the Washington Post that the company is "trying to...build our products so they're safe and trustworthy, not just secure."