SlickLogin has proposed a rather novel way to replace or augment the age-old password system with sound. It seems that Google has been listening and has just acquired the startup, which could indicate the tech giant's plans for strengthening its authentication system.
Text-based passwords is the most basic form of authentication and, as such, has been also been the most targeted form of personal data, along with credit card numbers. While we may never see the extinction of passwords, several systems have been developed in order to improve its security by tacking on to the authentication system.
One of the most popular of these new login methods is two-step authentication. In a sense, SlickLogin is also similar in that it requires the use of a secondary device, in this case a smartphone. The difference is that SlickLogin uses the element of sound to add a degree of security and uniqueness to each login.
The way it works is that a website supporting SlickLogin will play a nearly inaudible sound through the computer's speakers. The smartphone app will then pick up the sound and analyze it and then send a message to the server authorizing the log in. SlickLogin ensures that each sound that is generated is unique to a user and the login circumstance so that no one can simply record the audio and play it back at a later time, even on the same computer. Of course, it cannot account for stolen smartphones, in which case the user will have bigger problems to worry about.
The startup has just announced on its website that it is joining forces with Google in order to make the Internet safer for everyone. Naturally, neither company has disclosed details about future projects, though it wouldn't be too great a leap to expect that an audio-based two-step authentication process will soon be available on Google's sites.