SlickLogin's Ori Kabeli at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013.
Google has acquired Israeli start-up SlickLogin in a move that could make signing into your Google accounts a lot more secure.
Of course, tech giants often acquire smaller companies for the talent, not the product, so there is no guarantee that Google will implement SlickLogin’s unique two-step verification technology. That would be a shame, because it seems like a pretty smart solution to a tricky security problem.
Currently, Google’s optional two-step verification system works like this: You enter your username and password, and then Google sends a numerical code via text, a voice call or its own app. Enter that code and you’re done.
It’s an extra step that makes it much harder to break into your account. But considering that the most common password uncovered during a hack in November was 123456, it’s safe to say that many people aren’t willing to go the extra mile to protect their information.
SlickLogin takes a lot of the effort out of the two-step verification process. The idea is that once you sign into a website with your username and password, the computer would emit a high-frequency sound that humans can't hear — but your smartphone can. It would recognize the signal and send a message back to the computer verifying the user’s identity.
The only thing that you would need to do? Hold your phone next to your computer. No need to unlock it, or enter a code of any kind. Two-step verification isn’t a security panacea, but considering the number of recent high-profile hacks — from Kickstarter to the massive Target breach — anything that makes the process easier is a step forward.
First published February 17 2014, 9:53 AM
Keith Wagstaff is a contributing writer at NBC News. He covers technology, reporting on Internet security, mobile technology and more. He joined NBC News from The Week, where he was a staff writer covering politics. Prior to his work at The Week, he was a technology writer at TIME.
He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.