Remembering a unique password for each online account you manage — social networks, banking and email, to name a few — is a headache. There are likely dozens of letter and number sequences you have to keep track of at any given time.
But Yahoo wants to help by making it easier to log into its email service. In fact, it doesn’t want you to have to enter a traditional password at all. Password managers like LastPass help you remember passcodes, but Yahoo doesn’t even want you to have one in the first place.
The company introduced a new on-demand login feature that sends users a specialized code to their mobile devices to gain access. The code is generated only for that account; since it changes each time you log in, the method is secure.
Hackers would have to be in physical possession of a user’s smartphone to know the code and thus access the account.
Many companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google have offered a similar option — two-factor authentication — for some time. This method is like double-locking your door at night (you need both a standard password and the messaged code to enter). Yahoo differs because you don’t need a permanent password, just the one that the company sends you on demand.
The move, therefore, is technically a form of a one-factor authentication, but it signals a big move by Yahoo to eliminate passwords and also keep the service secure. Last year, the company announced that it was the target of a massive hacking that stole usernames and passwords from its email customers, so the need to provide a safe, encrypted way to keep accounts secure is greater than ever.