Emoji stories may soon be used for passwords online

15 Jun 2015

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Emojis may soon be used as alternatives for digits and letters in passwords – Photo by Luke Maxwell

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A company in the UK has developed a way for emoji to be used as characters in passwords, reflecting its growing use as an online language throughout the world.

It sounds a bit crazy, and you would have to imagine that this is an idea that will take a long time to manifest itself into widespread adoption, but hey, the internet is full of crazy ideas.

Developed in response to research showing “over a quarter of Brits have forgotten their PINs in the past,” Intelligence Environments has created what will no doubt capture the imagination of the younger generations.You can use hearts, bits of fruit. You’ve got the hamburger, the smiling poo’ — Alan Brown, product development manager, Intelligence Environments.

“You can use hearts, bits of fruit. You’ve got the hamburger, the smiling poo,” said Alan Brown, product development manager at Intelligence Environments.

The company claims that this is in fact more secure than other password approaches online because there are 480 more permutations in a four-emoji password than in regular digit equivalents.

Emoji stories: what a picture

This does make some sense, and not just merely in a numerical sense because you are committing to emoji stories that only you know, rather than relying on a phone number or date of birth that can be easily hacked.

“Forgetting passwords [happens] because the brain doesn’t work digitally or verbally. It works imagistically,” says Tony Buzan, a ‘memory expert’, in the promo video. A recent report by the

A recent report by the BBC gave voice to alternate views on the potential behind this software. While cybersecurity expert Prof Alan Woodward said that the use of patterns and images was a “potentially valuable step forward,” former memory champion Michael Tipper spotted a flaw.

“Statistically it will be harder to crack — but if you’re presented with a screen of emojis and you can’t be bothered to remember a sequence you’re going to pick the ones in the four corners or the top row – and then you are left with an equally insecure technology,” he said.

Gordon Hunt is senior communications and context executive at NDRC. He previously worked as a journalist with Silicon Republic.

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