Dugan, who used to be head of the US Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, explained that each signal emitted by the pill could be unique to each user.

Both these ideas move away from traditional passwords and towards technology that turns the user into a physical authentication token.

Explaining the reasons behind the plans, Dugan said: ‘Authentication is irritating. In fact its so irritating only about half the people do it.

‘Despite the fact there is a lot of information about you on your smartphone, which makes you far more prone to identity theft.

‘After 40 years of advances in computation, we’re still authenticating the same way we did years ago – passwords.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]HOW DOES THE PROTEUS DIGITAL HEALTH PILL WORK?

The Proteus Digital Health pill contains a computer chip and a switch.

Once swallowed, the acid in the wearer’s  stomach causes electrolytes to turn the switch on and off.

This creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal that can be picked up by mobile devices and authentication hardware to verify the wearer is the correct owner of the device or account.

It can also monitor heart rate.

The pill was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration in 2012 after getting European regulatory approval in 2010.

Motorola’s Regina Dugan called it the ‘vitamin authentication pill’ and said the pills can be taken every day for 30 days, if necessary, without any problems.[/box]

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The so-called ‘vitamin authentication pill’ has been designed by Proteus Digital Health in California. It was passed by the FDA in 2012 after gaining European regulatory approval in 2010. The chip can be swallowed and used to monitor the wearer’s health and Motorola thinks it could be used for authentication

‘In fact it’s worse, the average users does it 39 times a day and it takes them 2.3 seconds every time they do it.

‘Power users will do it up to 100 times a day.

‘So what are we doing about it? Well [Motorola] is thinking of a whole variety of options for how to do better at authentication such as near-term things including tokens or fobs that have NFC or bluetooth.

‘But you can also think about a means of authentication you can wear on your skin every day, say an electronic tattoo or a vitamin pill’.

During the talk, Woodside also unveiled Motorola’s plans to launch a new handset.

Motorola was bought by Google 2011, which owns the Android operating system.

The new phone, called the Moto X, will be built  in Texas and Woodside said he was ‘pretty confident in the products we’re going to be shipping in the fall’.

Woodside added that the Moto X would benefit from Motorola’s expertise in managing ultra-low power sensors — such as in accelerometers and gyroscopes — that can sense usage contexts and turn off certain components when not required, to save power.

He added that it will interact in different ways to other handsets and said the camera would ‘fire up in a way not seen before’ calling the handset ‘more contextually aware’ than other phones.

Motorola’s engineers have also come up with processors that will help save power, but didn’t elaborate further.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]PASSWORDS ARE NO LONGER SECURE

A team of hackers, commissioned by technology website Ars Technica, recently managed to crack more than 14,800 supposedly random passwords – from a list of 16,449  – as part of a hacking experiment.

The success rate for each hacker ranged from 62 per cent to 90 per cent, and the hacker who cracked 90 per cent of hashed passwords did so in less than an hour using a computer cluster.

The hackers also managed to crack 16-character passwords including ‘qeadzcwrsfxv1331’.

Earlier this month PayPal’s chief security officer, Michael Barrett said he wants to see a mixture of online passwords with hardware-based identification such as finger print scanning becoming more common.

Talking at the IT conference Interop in Las Vegas at the start of May, Barrett said: ‘Passwords, when used ubiquitously everywhere at Internet-scale are starting to fail us.

‘Users pick poor passwords and then they’ll reuse them everywhere.

‘That has the effect of reducing the security of their most secure account to the security of the least secure place they visit on the internet.’

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By Victoria Woollaston | DailyMail