In the name of Internet traffic security, a British firm suggests using emojis instead of letters and numbers as passcodes.
When consumers suffer the intrusion of having their personal information stolen in a computer hack job, the first thing security experts say is that consumers need to frequently change and complicate their passwords.
Difficult passwords are the key to information safety, they tell us.
Now a British firm is promising greater password security by making it possible to use emojis as password characters rather than numbers, letters or keyboard symbols.
Intelligent Environments, an online banking service provider from the United Kingdom, announced the “world’s first emoji-only passcode”. The emoji passcode would provide users a set of 44 emojis to be used in any order the consumer wants, claiming the system is far more difficult to hack than previous passwords using more standardized fare, like the alphabet or numerical system.
The company said emojis are easier to remember than the difficult set of letters, numbers and symbols most security experts promote as safe. IE also stated that the 44 emojis offer more flexibility and permutations than traditional passcodes using the 26 letters and 10 digits available.
A further selling point? Kids love emojis.
“We have had input from lots of millennials when we developed the technology’’ said IE manager director of engagement David Webber in a released statement. “What’s clear is that the younger generation is communicating in new ways. Our research shows 64 percent of millennials regularly communicate only using emojis. So we decided to reinvent the passcode for a new generation.”
In reporting the story, National Public Radio found dissenters.
“I think it is a gimmick,’’ said Carnegie Mellon University professor Lorrie Cranor, who studies cybersecurity. “I’m not sure that it will make a difference as far as security goes.”
“The majority of your users are going to use basically the same pattern as everybody else,’’ said University of Southern California behavioral decision-making expert Michael Orosz to NPR. “We think alike. 1-2-3-4? There is going to be the equivalent of that, in that domain.”
Microsoft currently allows Windows 8 users to use pictures as their password, and this emoji idea is similar to that.
Wired.com, reporting on the emoji breakthrough, noted that most websites are not able to recognize emojis as passwords, and traditional computer and mobile device keyboards do not have a convenient input system for emojis yet.
The other holdback is that IE has not yet aligned its passcode system with any banking system, although the company says it is in serious talks with British banking companies to be the first to offer the emoji passcode system.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.