Long, complex passwords that must be input on tiny screens, often while on the move: Such hassles make password-based security unworkable in a mobile world. But change is coming, thanks to an industrywide backlash that gave rise to a gold rush of new technologies.
Eventually mobile security may no longer hinge on whether a password is long enough, but on how well the device knows the user.
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"There's been an explosion in the past year, with new things coming out every month," says Kayvan Alikhani, director of technology at RSA, the security division of EMC.
One example: The rapid emergence of a standards organization for mobile and online security, the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance. Within a year of its founding in February 2013, the alliance had enlisted more than 100 members, including RSA, PayPal, Google, Microsoft, BlackBerry, MasterCard and Netflix.