The Sideshow

No special characters required: Password app uses facial recognition

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FaceCrypt screenshot (FaceCrypt app)

Thank you for joining our community! Please enter a password consisting of 17 completely random alphanumeric characters and three special characters (e.g., an umlaut or schwa) that might not be on all keyboards. The password should be impossible for hackers to guess and impossible for you to remember.

Sound familiar?

The creators of FaceCrypt have apparently heard your pain. Their newly released app uses facial recognition technology to keep a person's passwords, photographs, documents and credit card numbers secure on their smartphone.

The cheapest version of the app is free but limits the number of entries per category. The basic version costs $4.99 and allows unlimited entries. Another version goes for $6.99 and features customizable icons.

The app is fairly simple: When setting up your profile, the app takes a picture of your face. From there, you can fill your "vault," where your information is securely stored. When you want to access your info, open the app and hold your phone in front of you. The app will scan your face for a match. All versions require a decent amount of light in order for the in-phone camera to recognize the user.

For those who worry that a hacker could simply hold a photograph of the phone's owner to the camera and gain access, FaceCrypt gives users the option to blink repeatedly to prove they are a real 3-D person. Take that, nosy roommates!

Password fatigue is a growing problem. A 2012 poll from Harris Interactive revealed that "58 percent of online adults have five or more unique passwords associated with their online logins and 30 percent of people have more than 10 unique passwords they need to remember."

Jeremy Rose, the creator of the app, told the New York Post the idea came to him a year and a half ago while he was searching for a password manager that didn't require its own special password. "It just dawned on me," he told the Post.

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