SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Greg Ness, Elizabeth White, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente

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2013 Marked by Online Security Risks

Online Security Experts Outline What to Expect in 2014 and Beyond

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - February 06, 2014) - 2013 was a year marked by some of the largest security breaches and data compromises in history, signaling a drastic need to dramatically shift how companies protect data, according to leading online security experts at LaunchKey. Initial reports noted that between two major online security breaches in late 2013, an estimated 80 million people were directly impacted. However, more recent reports have acknowledged that this number may be conservative, with as many as 150 million username and hashed password pairs potentially compromised in one incident alone.

"This is yet another reminder that our current model for authenticating and securing private information does not work," said LaunchKey Co-Founder and CEO Geoff Sanders. "Current authentication methods no longer provide the security and anonymity required to protect business and personal information. It is a progressive deterioration of an archaic system."

LaunchKey is among those in the online security industry leading the charge to provide a more secure and private authentication model without passwords for enterprise companies, online users and consumers. The team is evolving user online authentication and working to eliminate passwords through anonymous multi-factor authentication methods.

"The more passwords that are created, coupled with the increasing break-ins, make it even easier to uncover user information," said Sanders. "To break this cycle, we need to kill passwords. Companies need to get it, or plan for financial disaster."

Sanders projects a handful of things to expect in 2014:

• The need for secure authentication will continually rise, while the multi-factor solutions that address those cyber security needs will become increasingly technically complex and difficult for the organizations and developers that must implement them. This opens up the opportunity for secure authentication as a service.

• The virtual world and physical world will intersect through the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. This connection to the physical world will create significant security challenges as we connect the physical objects people depend on, such as vehicles, homes and medical devices, to the wild west of the virtual world. As such, secure authentication at these critical nodes and connections will be of the upmost and ever-increasing importance. Systems must be able to provide secure authentication to the Internet of Things, and systems that authenticate to both the Internet of Things and the virtual world will have increasing value and significance.

 Biometry will have decreasing value over time as organizations and end users become aware of the privacy risks inherent in storing such uniquely personal data that can't be unassociated with a person. While biometry is useful as an inherence factor of authentication in a multi-factor environment, more responsible inherence factors like geolocation will gain broader acceptance.

• The concept of social vouching will take flight within user authentication as the value of crowdsourcing identity becomes possible through both voluntary and passive mechanisms by utilizing mobile devices, machine-to-machine communication, and data analysis.

Moving Forward into a Passwordless World

Behind the scenes, companies are grappling with how they can protect trade secrets, corporate data and consumer information from predatory IT sleuths -- many of whom are direct competitors or identity thieves. Enterprise companies are coming around, looking for new solutions to the age-old problem of protecting user privacy, anonymity and identity as they conduct business online.

"The current model for authentication allows hackers and IT pirates the opportunity to access a company's networked systems, websites, email and applications. It's so much easier than you think," said Cheryl Wilner, founder of Bethesda Advanced Solutions and security pioneer. "And as we become more connected through the Internet of Things as individuals, we become increasingly exposed."

LaunchKey is working to build platforms that offer secure and anonymous multi-factor authentication by eliminating passwords and pushing anonymous authentication to mobile devices. The company's multi-factor authentication model involves three factors: possession (device factor), inherence (geofencing) and knowledge (combo and pin lock). This new generation of secure and anonymous multi-factor authentication offers organizations, developers and individuals enhanced security, which leads to decreased corporate financial liability and personal exposure.

In September 2013, LaunchKey achieved VerAfied status; an achievement indicating the company meets or exceeds industry standards for security, reliability and compliance.

"Compliance with the highest security standards in the industry is mission critical as we move to this new authentication model," said Sanders. "It may be a long road to shift the business and individual mindset, but we are at the forefront as companies realize and address the risk that was so evident this past year."

The LaunchKey application is available for free in Google Play and the Apple App Store. For more information, visit launchkey.com.

About LaunchKey
LaunchKey is evolving user authentication and eliminating passwords with anonymous multi-factor authentication through smartphones and tablets. LaunchKey's free app enables users on websites, applications and other networked systems to securely and privately authenticate without passwords. For developers, LaunchKey provides a trustworthy alternative to password-based user authentication while reducing the liability passwords create. The founders were named to Inc. Magazine's prestigious "30 Under 30" list of entrepreneurs for 2013. For more information, visit launchkey.com.

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