Tech Drivers
Tech Drivers

Here's what will replace the 'dying' password

Facial-recognition grid
Stegerphoto | Peter Arnold | Getty Images

You may soon be able to securely log on to your online accounts by just looking at your computer.

"The password the way we know it today must die," said Michael Fey, chief technology officer of Intel Security. "We have to stop fighting that because it's just going to fail over and over again."

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As password breaches become the new normal, companies are being forced to find new ways of verifying their users and securing their data, security experts said.

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While passwords won't disappear tomorrow, companies are beginning to experiment with different ways to verify users, including facial recognition and other biometric features like a person's fingerprint, voice or even certain behavioral patterns.

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"There are so many sensors on our devices these days that could confirm that you are who you say you are," Fey said. "There's just no reason for these silly passwords, it's such an archaic thought process."

Intel-owned McAfee is betting big on biometrics being a significant part of online security going forward and has already rolled out some of this technology on its LiveSafe platform, one of the company's software security products.

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McAfee's LiveSafe program identifies a user by capturing their face and voice with the camera and microphone of any of Intel's Ultrabook laptops (plus a six-digit PIN for non-Ultrabooks) to enable access to the user's cloud storage.

Intel is planning to expand its biometric security offerings to different industries later this year, starting with the higher education market, Fey said.

But some new biometric authentication systems aren't as obvious as using your face, voice or fingerprint.

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The Israeli security firm BioCatch is currently using "invisible" biometric authentication, which basically means the user has no idea that some of their data is being captured and used to verify their identity.

"There are so many ways of getting a person's credentials that you need to change your mindset. The approach we are taking, is we are analyzing people's' behavior," said Oren Kedem, vice president of product management at BioCatch.

The company currently works to secure primarily financial institutions' networks and tech companies' cloud infrastructure, Kedem said, without giving the names of the firms. But BioCatch recently introduced a product for e-commerce sites because of demand in the space, he said.

BioCatch creates a behavioral profile for each of its clients' users by monitoring certain behaviors once the user is on a client's site. It measures things like how a person holds their mobile phone and how they scan a page or interact with a certain interface to create a behavioral profile.

The company also poses subtle cognitive challenges for the user, like a cursor jump, to test the user's reaction to help determine their identity.

To help keep its data secure, BioCatch stores the behavioral profiles of its customers' users, but it does not know who those profiles belong to, Kedem said. On the reverse side, its customers know the users, but they don't have access to the behavioral profile. So a hacker would have to break into both organizations to make any sense of the behavioral data, which is also encrypted, he said.

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson