Yahoo Mail: We're Killing Passwords

Email service will now use push notifications on mobile devices to sign users in
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2015 12:50 PM CDT
Yahoo Mail: We're Killing Passwords
So long, passwords.   (Shutterstock)

Yahoo Mail is turning 18, and it's marking the occasion with a big move: no more passwords. The company announced Thursday it's dumping what one Gartner security analyst calls the "antiquated" process of punching in a password to access messages and replacing it with a push notification sent to a user's mobile device, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Once the user gets the notification, he or she taps once to gain entry to the Yahoo Mail inbox, ABC News notes. "Passwords are usually simple to hack and easy to forget," Dylan Casey, Yahoo VP of product management, writes in a blog post describing the new "Account Key" feature. "Account Key streamlines the sign-in process … [and is] more secure than a traditional password because once you activate Account Key—even if someone gets access to your account info—they can't sign in."

The optional authentication method is part of a broader revamp of Yahoo Mail, which includes faster search options of archived mail on Apple and Android devices, an email "umbrella" that allows users to access other email accounts (though not Gmail), and an organizational option for "me-mailers," or people who send themselves reminders via email, per the Mercury News. Some experts, however, feel longtime users may be freaked out without their passwords. "Consumers actually like them," the Gartner analyst tells the Mercury News, though he concedes people often forget their passwords, create weak ones, or use the same one across many accounts, setting them up for hacking. For those who feel the new authentication system isn't secure enough, Casey says it may someday use fingerprints and face recognition for an added layer of protection, Engadget notes. (More Yahoo stories.)

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