It seems like the password has been around forever. Ever since we’ve been online or needed access to software programs we’ve protected that access with a password. Emphatically, regardless of how often they’re warned, most people gravitate towards passwords that are easy for them to remember, and easy for others to guess (despite the fact they’re warned when choosing a password).
If the password isn’t “password” or “12345678” it’s often something that a mildly skilled social hacker could ascertain in just a couple of tries. You would be surprised at how many people use the name of a child, dog or cat as their password.
We want to believe that this isn’t done because people or stupid, or lazy. It could be a bit of laziness, but it’s typically more because they want to be able to access their programs, software and email as quick as possible. Using one password for every single sign on, creates an easy way for you to get into all of your stuff, and anyone else for that matter.
So there are password generation sites out there that will help people create a random string of characters to use as a password, and while that’s effective, they’re extremely difficult to remember and if you forget to write it down somewhere you could be completely out of luck. There are password keeper websites that will allow users to store all of their passwords for everything locked behind a master password. Some of them can even sign you into all of your accounts. That’s a decent solution, but what happens when the password keeper site gets hacked?
There’s a new breed of password protection out there and it’s called Valt. The Boston based startup provides “effortless security through visual memory”. Instead of having to remember some long string of random characters, Valt, gives you a truly random master password, behind a set of randomly generated pictures that you learn when you first download Valt.
When you start Valt for the first time it will show you nine different photographs. It provides brief descriptions of the photographs and to ensure that your brain is memorizing the photographs, each description tells you the precise location of where to click to get Valt to move on. For instance I was shown a picture on a yellow background with a woman holding an umbrella. The brief description talked about yellow and it’s calming effect along with Mary Poppins. In the description it told me to specifically click on the umbrella handle. If I had clicked outside of the handle I would not have been able to move on.
After that initial process with the photos you are then shown your nine photos in three grids with other photos. You have to pick your nine photos, three at a time per page, on each grid. This helps you remember the photos and their location on the grid. That’s your master password. You didn’t pick the photos or the layout it was all randomly generated. We downloaded it on three machines and got three totally different sets of pictures. Then, Pete and I went back to Valt four different times just to make sure we remembered our pictures. It totally works.
Using Valts Chrome or Safari extension, Mac users can set their web based passwords up through the course of the day. I’ve already saved everything I use except Word Press and the bank, and it’s super easy. The process with the images is backed by proven research. “…there are decades of academic research (including our own) that say you can easily recall hundreds of images, even without seeing them for a month.” Valt says on their website. There have been a variety of studies down on image recall. The most memorable images have people in them, followed by static indoor scenes, and human scale objects. Images that people find odd, peculiar or funny are also at the top of the recall list. The images we saw, signing up for Valt, fit these parameters.
Since Valt is so secure if you forget your images they can’t help you. Your image pattern is not saved on their servers in pattern order. This means that if Valt were to get hacked, the hackers get nothing as far as their user base is concerned, which is something we love. Valt recommends that if you aren’t going to use it every day, that you come back and test your memory at least twice a week.
You can learn more about Valt and why it’s so effective and the new breed of password, at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, January 9-12th in Eureka Park, booth #51876 and online at valt.io
Check out more of our CES 2018 Eureka Park coverage here.