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Intel to tame passwords with biometric authentication

Intel to tame passwords with biometric authentication

McAfee software to log into Windows and websites will be available for download by year end

Forget typing in passwords, Intel wants you to use your body to log into email and online bank accounts.

McAfee software that will use biometric technology to authenticate users will be available for download by the end of the year, said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, last week.

"Your biometrics basically eliminate the need for you to enter passwords for Windows log in and eventually all your websites ever again," Skaugen said.

Further product details were not immediately available. But one of the major inconveniences in using PCs and tablets is remembering passwords, which biometrics can tame.

An average user has about 18 passwords and biometric authentication will make PCs easier to use, Skaugen said.

Biometric authentication isn't new. It's being used in Apple Pay, where fingerprint authentication helps authorize credit card payments through the iPhone or iPad. Intel has been working on multiple forms of biometric authentication through fingerprint, gesture, face and voice recognition.

McAfee is owned by Intel, and the chip maker is building smartphone, tablet and PC technology that takes advantage of the security software. Intel has also worked on biometric technology for wearable devices like SMS Audio's BioSport In-Ear Headphones, which can measure a person's heart rate.

Intel also wants to make PCs and tablets easier to use through wireless charging, display, docking and data transfers. Such capabilities would eliminate the need to carry power brick and cables for displays and data transfers. Such capabilities will start appearing in laptops next year with sixth-generation Core chips code-named Skylake, which will be released in the second half.

The wireless display technology will be driven by WiGig, which is faster than 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The company hopes to put its wireless charging technologies in cafes, lounges and other common gathering areas.

For now, Intel will give an early taste of wire-free computing through reference design laptops based on Skylake, which will be ready by the end of this year. The reference design laptops won't need any USB or power ports, Skaugen said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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