Should photos be the new passwords?

With cyber-security breaches and hacking become more common, as well as needing a mixture of letters and numbers to form an apparently “strong” password, are character-based passwords really cutting it anymore?

A new app called uSig–short for unique signature–offers users of mobile and tablet devices the option of selecting a photo as a password. According to the uSig website, most people access one or two (most likely even more) secure websites every day, which amounts to 7 billion logins daily. This can include logging in on company accounts to access emails, files and purchases–the most important and therefore vulnerable file types.

The option of using a photo as a password is quicker and easier than using a character-based password. This means that the frustration that comes with having to remember a long and complicated password will completely disappear.


So should all websites convert to photo instead of character-based passwords? Well not just yet, uSig is still in the testing stages. However it is a good idea, I’m actually surprised that it has taken this long for this idea to emerge. Mobile devices are being used more than computers now, every mobile phone comes with a camera of increasingly better quality and because of this, people are taking more and more photos and sharing them instantly. If technology has to evolve, so should the way we access it.

Like with anything, there are the pros and the cons. One pro, other than the aforementioned obvious, is that using a photo as a password could put off hackers and current hacking techniques, like keystroke logging would be useless. The cons would be that someone looking over your shoulder could easily remember or take note of the photo you are using as a password. Similarly if you share a photo on social media and just happen to use it as your password, anyone could easily right click and save a copy of the photo and use it to hack into your accounts. However as the app and the idea itself is still being tested, these cons could easily be rectified.

Only time will tell if photos will become the new passwords, but if they do, I won’t be surprised.

This article was originally published on Tech Reviewer on 1 September 2014 and can be found here.