February 20, 2014

Google acquires password startup SlickLogin

Google has recently purchased the Israeli startup SlickLogin, just five months after the company's launch. SlickLogin is the creation of three veterans of the Israeli Defense Force's cyber security unit. Before being acquired by Google, the group had been working on authentication technology that uses high-frequency pitches instead of a traditional password. 

SlickLogin confirmed the technology merger in its website, stating that Google shares its "core beliefs that logging in should be easy instead of frustrating, and authentication should be effective without getting in the way. Google was the first company to offer 2-step verification to everyone, for free—and they're working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone. We couldn't be more excited to join their efforts." 

The startup's technology works by placing a smartphone next to a computer that emits an inaudible sound. The mobile device then registers the pitch and relays it to websites that need a second form of identity verification. 

Google's latest business acquisition comes as little surprise to experts in the cyber security field. The tech giant has pioneered the process of two-factor authentication. When someone tries to login to a Google account from an unfamiliar device, those who have extra security set up are prompted to enter a code that was sent to them via text message. Adding this extra step makes it harder for hackers and criminals to access someone else's account.

The purchase of SlickLogin is also another demonstration of Google's growing interest in improving online security. The company recently joined the board of directors of the FIDO Alliance—a nonprofit that is pushing for alternatives for passwords.