All-In-One Security And Convenience

Posted by Dan on Jul 11, 2003 @ 11:59 AM

Are you tired of remembering all of your computer and online passwords? There's one to log on to your computer, another one for your e-mail at work, one more for your AOL, Yahoo! or MSN account and potentially another for your ISP at home. If you bank or trade shares online, then you have to remember those passwords as well.


[Fellowes'] Secure Touch Optical Mouse allows users to replace their passwords with a fingerprint reader. When you arrive at the logon screen, just place your fingerprint on the sensor built on to the mouse and you're in. The same goes for anything on the Web that requires a password.

This is an interesting idea, maybe a step backwards in ergo dynamics, but and interesting idea. I certainly hope that when creating a password for each application that it uses some kind of hash algorithm with a unique key for each password—the last thing you want to have happen is to use the same password for each site. If all the device is doing is converting your fingerprint signature into an ASCII key, then it might be using the same password for every site/application. That would be a real no-no—never use one password for everything you do.

I also wonder how it would work in a network environment. If you have a bunch of PCs all connected using this mouse, could you go from one computer to the next and have it work on each box? I'd imagine you could—if not, that's a problem that would need to be resolved.

If this product just converts your fingerprint signature to an ASCII string (and doesn't attempt to create a unique password for each web site/application,) then this really offers you no real security—other than maybe a hard to guess password. In order for something like this to really give you some added "security", it should be creating a unique—but reproducible—password key based upon your fingerprint and the application you're logging on to.

Categories: Technology


  • What do you currently use to manage passwords?
  • My brain. :) I have my little algorithm I use, which is based upon the site on, plus some misc genre of information.

    I've thought about using password programs before, but if the program gets trashed or I'm at a different PC--I run into problems.

    Some little USB keychain device would appeal to me, but unless you're it's going to generate a unique password key for each site, then it's not of much use...

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