Lenovo, PayPal particiapte in FIDO Alliance to reinvent passwords

By on February 13, 2013, 5:00 PM

Last year it was revealed that Lenovo was teaming up with PayPal and others to form a group tasked with reinventing the authentication tool that virtually everyone is familiar with today: the password. We didn’t have much information about the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance at the time but that’s no longer the case.

A joint press release reveals that Nok Nok Labs and Validity are also part of the FIDO Alliance. Everything is still in the very early stages but the end goal is to create simpler and stronger authentication. The FIDO standard plans to support a full range of technologies including biometrics like fingerprint scanners, voice and facial recognition as well as existing technologies.

These will include Trusted Platform Modules (TPM), USB Security Tokens, Near Field Communication (NFC) and One Time Passwords (OTP), just to name a few. We are also told that FIDO will incorporate future technology options as they become available. Consumers will have a choice of authentication method but at the same time, FIDO will shift control to providers in an effort to make authentication user-transparent.

Marc Cohen, vice president and general manager of ecosystem and monetization at Lenovo said his company recognized early on that customers wanted more than just passwords for authentication. As such, they began shipping ThinkPad PCs with integrated fingerprint readers almost a decade ago.

The executive said Lenovo is excited about the FIDO standard because it enhances security and convenience by enabling other means of authentication between a user and the service they are trying to use.

It remains to be seen if the alliance will be successful in their endeavor but it’s encouraging to see a handful of companies working together to tackle a serious issue.

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