Achilles’ Password: Online Security’s Susceptible Straggler

These new technologies promise to make your vulnerable passwords obsolete.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

Since its inception 56 years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, essentially the U.S. Department of Defense’s mad scientist division, has turned fiction into fact and revolutionized our world several times over by thinking big and weird. They’ve invented the proto-internet, GPS systems, and even bent light itself to make 40 trillionths of a second disappear. They’re currently tinkering with laser guns, health monitoring internal nanobots, and virus-killing blood cleaning technology, just to name a few. But right now, one of DARPA’s main focuses is on something called the Active Authentication Project, launched in 2012 with the explicit and initially confounding mission of eliminating passwords as we know them, to better guard us all online.

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