Imagine instead of having to type four digits as a security PIN, you could just type the sunglasses smiley, blue heart, top hat, and thumbs up emoji? Well, new security software from the UK’s Intelligent Environments could soon allow just that. The company says they have developed a system that would allow symbols, namely emoji, to be used instead of numbers in a PIN code. This makes PINs easier to remember, but, even better, data shows they can actually be more secure than just digits.
A tradition PIN made up of four non-repeating digits will work out to be 7,290 unique permutations, however, Intelligent Environments’ Emoji Passcode is based on 44 non-repeating emoji making 3,498,308 unique permutations possible. This means using characters like a monkey covering its eyes, a hand making a “peace” sign, and, yes, even smiling poop, 480 times more secure.
Tony Buzan, a “memory expert,” says that the system works so well because the human brain is built to work better with images, remembering information in pictorial form better than digital or verbal.
Similarly, Professor Alan Woodward, a cybersecurity expert, says that Emoji Passcode would make hackers have to work through a greater number of combinations to try cracking the code. Although, he added that it should still be paired with two-factor authentication.
Intelligent Environments says the software is completed and ready to use, although they haven’t found any partners to put it to use yet. The company is currently in talks with banks, and hopes to see the technology debut in the next 12 months.