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Google wants to replace passwords with something very scary

We write a lot about passwords here at Komando.com because they're important. A strong, unique password can protect your online accounts from attack and a weak password can give away your personal information.

Unfortunately, telling people to create strong, unique passwords is the tech world's equivalent of dentists telling you to floss. You hear it every visit and know you should, but it somehow never happens. Plenty of companies have tried to come up with alternatives over the years, from pattern locks to fingerprints and facial recognition to digital rings. Now Google thinks it has the final solution, even if it is a bit creepy.

Google's idea is called Project Abacus and it aims to use your entire life as the password. In other words, using your smartphone's sensors and its services, Google wants to keep track of everything you do at all times and assign a "trust score."

Google will track your schedule, your favorite places to eat, how fast you normally walk, the sound of your voice, what types of sites you visit and everything else. As long as you do what you normally do, your trust score is high and you can log in to your phone and from there into other accounts.

If there's a sudden change in your behavior or environment, such as going to an atypical part of the city and walking around with an unusual gait, your trust score goes down and Google will lock everything up until you verify that you're actually you.

To sum up the entire project, Google is basically saying, "We can offer you perfect protection from bad guys, you just have to trust us with your entire life." There's a bit of a Faust and Mephistopheles about the whole thing.

Cisco engineer Shawn Cooley pointed out on Twitter that Abacus only works as long as you keep to your usual patterns. So, if you got injured and walked funny or had to use your off-hand, you might find yourself locked out.

In response, former Google employee Chris Messina pointed out that if you're using Google's health-tracking service Verily, it would already know about your injuries and take that into account. Again, a rational explanation that has just a hint of creepy about it.

Of course, as Engadget points out, your smartphone, whether Google or Apple, can already track everything Abacus needs. It's just a matter of the company pressing the record button and giving it a nice-looking app.

What do you think? Is Abacus the future of security or is it too creepy for anyone to actually want to use? Let us know your thoughts on Google's plan in the comments.

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Source: Engadget
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