The Security Device I Want…

OK, gadget makers, here’s the device I want. Please make it, so I can buy it.

I want a small USB device that I can use to store passwords. It should store them securely, of course, and contain a PIN pad, maybe combined with a fingerprint scanner, to authenticate the user. It needs some buttons to allow specifying which stored password you want to retrieve, and a display so you can tell what the heck you are doing.

So far, I haven’t described anything that isn’t available now, I think. (Not sure about the fingerprint scanner…). Now here’s the thing I want that sets this apart:

Once you have identified to the device which password you are trying to recall, you should be able to plug the device into the USB port on your computer, and the device should emulate a USB keyboard, and type the password for you.

Let me give a complete usage example. Say I go to my investment broker’s site. I want to log in to access my account. I would enter my account name, and then tab over to the password field on the web form, and then, on this USB password device, I’d use the interface there to tell it I want to retrieve my brokerage account password. I’d enter my PIN and put my finger on the fingerprint scanner. The device would recognize me, and indicate the password is ready.

I’d then plug the device into the USB hub in my keyboard, or the USB hub in my monitor, or the USB port on the front of the computer (you get the idea), and press the “type password” button. The device would type the password.

There would be management software running on the computer to manage the device, but once set up, it should be usable as described above, without requiring any special software on the computer (so that it would work with Windows, Mac, and Linux, and you could use it on computers on which you don’t have permission to install software).

The manufacturer could go beyond this, of course, and also offer software to intergrate the device into the system. E.g., software that could tell the device which password is needed for a given site, automatically fill in forms, and such. Manufacturers usually only bother with Windows for that, so it is important that the device be functional without such software.

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