Passwords are a natural part of our electronic lives, but according to PayPal’s chief information security officer, it’s archaic and will soon be a thing of the past.

Michael Barrett, chief information security officer at PayPal, has just spoken at the Interop IT conference in Las Vegas. While on stage, he stated that passwords, PIN numbers and the like are going to be disappearing pretty soon. He hopes security keys will eventually be replaced by a system that blends software and hardware-based identification. He is playing a key role in this change as president of the Fast Identity Online Alliance, FIDO, an organization whose purpose is to mix passwords and plugins with hardware based security such as USB drives and fingerprint scanners, for improved security authentication.

Michael Barrett


Barrett didn’t suggest PayPal would necessarily be adopting a new security system anytime soon, but he did announce that FIDO-enabled devices will be hitting the market at some point this year. It seems then, that Barrett’s vision is coming to life. While moving security to an easier end-user experience is a good thing, one must of course also consider that any security system can be broken… somehow.