The end of passwords? Simple wave of the hand to replace password

If, like me, you struggle to remember all the passwords you use for all the different websites you log into, then this new invention could hold the answer.

American chip maker Intel has come up with new technology which could see passwords replaced with a simple wave of the hand.

Based in Santa Clara, California, Intel has developed a way of putting a biometric sensor into your laptop or tablet which scans a person’s palm to verify their identity. As everyone has a completely unique pattern of veins in their hand, it should, in theory, be fool proof.

At the moment, most people have several passwords for banking, email, forums and social networking but this system could do away with the need for thinking up, and remembering, those multiple passwords.

While this year’s Intel Developer Forum found itself overshadowed by Apple’s much-anticipated iPhone 5 launch, it may have revealed a new invention which could change the way we use technology in the future.

Director of research at Intel Labs, Sridhar Iyengar, said: “The problem with passwords – we use too many of them, their rules are complex, and they differ for different websites. There is a way out of it, and biometrics is an option.”

The technology, however is still under development at the moment so we are going to have to rely on our memory banks for the time being. It would also require new biometric sensors to be installed in computers. A gadget called an accelerometer could be used to check when someone puts their tablet or laptop down, automatically locking it to prevent any unauthorised access.

While some laptops already use fingerprint scanners, Iyengar says his palm-scanning technology works better than anything currently available.

Once the computer recognises that the user is who they should be, it can securely communicate their identity to websites like online banks.

Iyengar said while the technology might not yet be available, Intel was very serious about rolling it out to a wide market. “We plan to work with service providers to take full advantage of this,” he said.

The development comes after recent figures showed that more than 12.5m consumers in Britain had fallen victim to cybercrime within the past 12 months.

According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, internet crimes have cost the UK economy £1.8bn. Cyber criminals have been found to be targeting their focus on increasingly popular mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are perhaps less aware of any risk.

Experts advise that strong email passwords are the best way to prevent yourself falling victim to cybercrime as email accounts can act as potential gateways for fraudsters looking for personal information.

It’s especially important to protect your email account as, if a criminal does gain access, they can reset your password for all sorts of other accounts by clicking on forgotten password links. This could effectively lock you out of your own accounts so any moves towards tightening internet security can only be good news for consumers.