Two groups today announced projects bent on taking passwords to the curb. The first is an industry group calling itself the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance. It consists of the computer-maker, Lenovo, the security firm, Nok Nok Labs, the online payment giant, PayPal, the biometrics experts, Agnito, and the authentication specialists, Validity. The second is the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), a research and development arm of the Defense Department.
DARPA’s Active Authentication program initially sought to develop tools designed to protect desktop workstations. The program is entering its second phase, in which the agency is calling for research that sets out to establish behavioral biometrics based on discernible cognitive processes and the observable ways that users naturally interact with their environment while using their computing devices. The Active Authentication program will also need to develop what DARPA is calling a “biometric platform,” that integrates all available biometrics into a single device that carries out the actual business of authentication.