Today, passwords are central to the online security process. Passwords are used to protect almost all our personal and business information. However, as well all know, passwords can be vulnerable. So the question is: Will passwords ever be replaced? Let’s look at some alternatives.

One alternative to passwords that is often used today is the fingerprint scanner. Such scanners are already available on many smartphones and even some door locks. However, this alternative isn’t completely safe either. In fact, a fingerprint can be surprisingly easy to obtain. Your fingerprint is, after all, left on whatever object you touch!

Retina scanning is also becoming an authentication alternative. Your retina has a unique pattern of blood vessels, and some smartphones are enabling this capability. It’s not yet widespread, though.

Another alternative, which is less well known, is measuring your pulse. By measuring your heartbeats, some devices can verify your identity. This alternative is currently available in the Nymi Wristband, for example. However, the method is fairly new and it is a question whether it will become common.

It seems likely that in the future, passwords will be replaced by these and other authentication methods. But right now, there doesn’t seem to be a good useful alternative for passwords for most applications. It is possible to strengthen passwords today, though, through two-factor verification. This process usually requires that you verify your identity with your smartphone when you try to log in from a new device or an unusual location. Wherever the two-factor option is offered (and most major websites offer it now), you should take advantage of it.

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