Yahoo aims to phase out passwords with new service

A Yahoo logo is pictured in front of a building in Rolle, 30 km (19 miles) east of Geneva, in this file picture taken December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

Yahoo’s next step in password security is to eliminate them altogether.

Starting on Thursday, the company announced, users of the Yahoo Mail app on both iOS and Android will have access to a new service called Yahoo Account Key, which uses smartphones to verify identities in lieu of traditional passwords.

Here’s how it works: When users who sign up for Account Key try to access Yahoo Mail, they will no longer need to enter their password. Instead, the Account Key service will send a message to the smartphone connected to the account.

With a tap on yes or no, users can indicate it is a legitimate attempt to get into the account or deny unauthorized access.

If their smartphone is lost or stolen, users can verify identities through an email or a text message sent to alternative accounts and numbers.

In a blog post on Yahoo’s Tumblr page, Dylan Casey, vice president of product management, said Account Key is more secure than traditional passwords because it prohibits anyone from signing in to access an account without the verification that Account Key provides.

Satnam Narang, a security manager with Symantec, called the approach “a step above a password” but said it still falls short of the golden standard of what’s known as two-factor authentication, which requires users to confirm their identify with two different pieces of information.

He also expressed doubts that most users will let passwords die easily and encouraged widespread adoption of password management tools until a new verification method replaces them for good.

“I think passwords are going to be around for a little while, I don’t think they’re going away as soon as we’d like them to. They’re so ingrained in everything we do from banking to email to shopping, you name it,” Narang said.

In addition to Account Key verification, Yahoo executives announced a revamped version of Yahoo Mail that allows users to connect with, manage and search Outlook, Hotmail and AOL email accounts while signed in to their Yahoo account.

The new Mail also connects to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to add photos and create “contact cards” with email, telephone and social media information for contacts.

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(by Deborah Todd, Editing by Stephen R. Trousdale and Ken Wills)

 

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.