Computer passwords can be a difficult thing to keep safe depending on the strength of the password itself. Researchers at the University of Plymouth may have a new way for password strength to be increased without having to add in more random characters and letters that for many people is almost impossible to remember, and it uses things most people are likely already engaging in conversation with on a daily basis. The new system that could become the norm is called GOTPass, and instead of creating a password based on a word or phrase, it uses form of pattern lock followed by emojis and icons.
Pattern lock is already a form of device security used within Android devices, but GOTPass takes things a step further and after the pattern lock is entered it prompts the user to select two different emoji or icon that are displayed on the screen. The combination of emojis includes a bunch of randomly selected pictures as well as two that the user picks themselves during the initial setup process, and after selecting the right icons users will get a one-time use password. Using this method is also a form of two-factor authentication, something which many Google account users have been encouraged to begin implementing more recently. With Google's two-factor authentication users are prompted to enter in a 6 digit code which is sent to them via text message, whereas GOTPass simply asks users to pick the two correct pictures on screen.
Just hearing that a password system uses emoji to keep accounts secure might seem a little silly at first, but according to the researchers responsible for GOTPass it's more secure than people might expect, stating that only 8 attempts out of 690 had resulted in successfully hacking into the system during research group tests. Although it will probably be years before systems like GOTPass are more mainstream, feedback shows that people have found icons and emojis, or the use of pictures easier to remember than a string of letters and numbers. Systems like GOTPass aren't being implemented in devices just yet, so for now, users will need to stick with things like Google's two-factor authentication to make their accounts more secure.