Remember the old New Yorker cartoon about the canine computer user telling his sidekick: „On the Internet nobody know’s you’re a dog“? That was back in 1993, but it still holds true. And hile many, myself included, relish the anonymity the Net gives us, the inability to prove conclusively who is on the other end of the line can be irking, and even downright dangerous, when large sums of money or the running of critical or possibly even existential systems is concerned.
Of course, the username/passwort currently used by almost everybody doesn’t prove who you or I are at all. It simply proves that there is indeed an entry in a database that uses these attributes, so anybody who knows them can get in. hat’s probaböy okay for most use cases. After all, the world as we know it won’t come to an end if somebody highjacks my Facebook account. And for thing like eBanking or PayPal I have additional ways of protecting myself: tokens, one-time passwords or Transaction Numbers (TANs), for instance. And yes, my laptop does have a fingerprint reader built in. I don’t have an Iris scanner yet, but these things are available if needed. There are lots of other methods out there, such as systems that analyze my typing behavior or listen to my voice patterns. One of my favorites is a system called “PassFaces” which makes you memorize the faces from pictures of total strangers whom you are then required to pick out from a matrix of mugshots. Presumably, if you can recognize, say, three people, then this must be the real you knocking on my digital door.