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Staying Safe in Cyberspace

The latest security technology helps people eliminate the hassle of passwords.

From your social media profiles, online banking, and email accounts, you have a lot of passwords—and you’re not alone. The average person has 24 passwords to remember. Let’s face it: Passwords are a hassle.

“It’s a universal pain point,” said Mark Hocking, Vice President and General Manager of Safe Identity at Intel Security. His team is on a mission to create an authentication model where online security doesn’t depend on some unreliable form of password management.

“People simply can’t remember so many different passwords,” said Hocking. “Everyone is forced to come up with some sort of coping mechanism.”

A newly updated password management application called True Key from Intel Security aims to bring users closer to a world where traditional passwords are obsolete.

The True Key app, available for phones, tablets and computers, protects user’s info with the most secure encryption available and integrates multiple advanced-security technologies. It generates tough-to-crack passwords and remembers them, so the user doesn’t have to memorize them or write them down.

Unfortunately, maintaining “good password hygiene,” is often difficult. Strong passwords are long, complicated and change often, leaving the average person at a loss for how to deal with them all.

Serious Threats to Cyber Security

May 5, 2016 marks the third annual Password Day, a global celebration to remind people that password security is serious business. Passwords are critical gatekeepers to our digital identities, allowing us access to online shopping, dating, banking, social media, private work and life communications.

“That’s the dilemma people are facing: either use simpler passwords or re-use the same password in many places, or they write their passwords down somewhere — none of which are secure,” said Dr. Richard Reiner, chief technology officer of safe identity at Intel Security.

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True Key helps users manage passwords for all their social and personal accounts.

Cyber criminals can steal and sell swaths of user data from hacked web services, including passwords, emails and usernames. Sophisticated hacking methods use password data from one site to access other accounts because, let’s face it, many users employ the same password on multiple sites.

Deloitte reported that of six million actual user-generated passwords, the 10,000 most common passwords would have accessed 98.1 percent of all accounts.

Hocking also pointed out that massive online security breaches at retailers including Target, Neiman Marcus, UPS, Goodwill, Sony and Home Depot, demonstrate that password-hacking runs deep. Hacking Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook accounts seems commonplace—and relatively harmless—today, but Hocking warns that people should become more vigilant about protecting their online identity and personal data.

Security Technology for Cyber Safety

When users install a password management app on their smartphone, tablet, or computer, they no longer have to remember all of their passwords; the app saves the passwords and login information in one secure place.

With the True Key app, users no longer rely solely on a single master password to keep all their stored passwords safe. Instead, a combination of multiple factors including biometrics like fingerprint recognition and “face” – where a mathematical calculation of key facial features (like the distance between the eyes and other points on the face) – can be used to grant access to the app to unlock all your passwords for use.

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If the user’s computer has built-in RealSense technology, facial login is even more secure, giving the user’s image depth and creating a more detailed calculation of the user’s facial characteristics.

With the True Key app, multi-factor authentication is built in and easy. The True Key app automatically verifies it’s you with at least two factors – one you choose and the device you’re using (your trusted device). It also allows users to configure which and how many verification factors are used depending on what a user prefers.

A person may opt for convenience and choose to login only using their face only when using a tablet to surf the web from the living room couch, but may want to increase security with an additional factor when using a laptop at the neighborhood café.

The available security factors include fingerprint and face recognition, your trusted device, a second (mobile) device, email confirmation and master password.

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True Key’s face recognition

The second device feature sends a secure message notification the user’s mobile device to verify it’s them before access is granted. For example, if Dave wants to use his computer and he uses his face to be verified and has second device enabled, it will send a message to his phone. He would then swipe the notification to confirm that he has permission to proceed.

The True Key app syncs across all devices automatically allowing the user to access their passwords on any of their devices once they sign in.

Designed with Users in Mind

All of these security factors were created and tested by designers, developers and security experts, but the ultimate goal was to build a product people would actually use.

“It’s a challenge when you have something so critical and complex,” said Francois Proulx, True Key product security champion. “We want to make sure we have the right balance between security and usability.”

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The True Key app works to achieve this goal, by working with customers to identify pain points and having them provide feedback during product development. Today, the app is available on Windows PC, Mac, Android, iOS devices and across Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Intel Security is a “zero information company,” meaning that the True Key app doesn’t store any non-encrypted information to ensure sensitive data is the most protected. The True Key app never records a master password to ensure that a user is the only one who ever has that information. The website passwords are encrypted and saved locally on the device, and for biometric factors like face, the app never “sees” a person’s face, only the encrypted mathematical equation.

In the end, those who download the application can solve an abundance of password-related problems.

“Adopting a password management system requires a real change in behavior, but it’s really liberating when you realize you can let go of that burden,” said Hocking. “With the True Key app, you are your password.”

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