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Intel to use biometrics to replace passwords


Passwords remain the common, yet inconvenient way of protecting access to valuable or sensitive information. In an effort to eliminate the need for passwords, Intel Labs has developed a replacement scheme called Client Based Authentication Technology, which leverages biometric technology.

The technology was demonstrated last week at the Intel Developer Forum by the company’s chief technology officer, Justin Rattner.

Intel’s Client-Based Authentication Technology solution works to simultaneously improve security and usability in authentication. The main component of the solution is its trusted identity manager (TIM), which resides within a hardware-based secure container on a user’s system.

The TIM asserts the user’s authentication to local and remote service providers without releasing the user’s credentials. In addition, the TIM non-intrusively monitors the user’s physical presence and locks the system if the user leaves.

Not only does the system replace passwords, it dramatically simplifies and accelerates the process for accessing bank accounts, stock portfolios and other cloud-based personal information.

The technology allows the user to authenticate once to the physical device such as an Intel Ultrabook or smartphone using a biometric sensor and then lets the device automatically authenticate itself with one or more cloud-based services.

Reading a person’s unique vein patterns in the palm of the hand, the user is then directly taken to his or her bank account, social network page or any kind of secure service. It also provides presence monitoring capability that locks the device and the secure service connection when the user puts his or her device down.

A new biometric scan unlocks the platform and immediately restores the previous secure service connections. The whole process is virtually transparent, easy to use and more secure.

“In the future, if it computes, it connects,” said Rattner. “From the simplest embedded sensors to the most advanced cloud data centers, we’re looking at techniques to allow all of them to connect without wires.”

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