Emoji Passwords Are Now A Thing

Photo: Courtesy Apple.
As if emoji needed anymore validation as a cultural mainstay, it looks like our favorite cartoony icons could be making their way into our passwords and passcodes. Instead of tapping out "5678" to use your debit card, you might tap eggplant, winking face, lightning bolt, green heart. A British software company came up with the new emoji-based passcode system to cater to the large percentage of millenials who already use emoji as a regular form of communication. Their thinking: Emoji codes would be more difficult for hackers to decipher, since the emoji library would offer upwards of three million four-character non-repeating passcode combinations compared to 7,290 numeric options. Apparently, we might do a better job of remembering our passcodes if they were emoji, because people can generally remember images better than they can numbers and an emoji password would be like a story — and the brain loves stories. Unfortunately, it has some caveats. Erik Cabetas, managing partner at a Brooklyn consulting firm, told the New York Observer emoji passcodes would have three main flaws, particularly relating to bank PIN-typing security: While tapping your emoji PIN, it would be harder to cover it from view (from people behind or around you) than with a PIN number; a PIN number can be verified over the phone; and both would fall to the same easy password scenario ("1234" would become the "top row of emoji, left to right"). We don't think that would be the case: Many ATMs already have touchscreen number pads and people feel pretty strongly about their favorite emoji — they might just be willing to scroll a page or two to get to the crystal ball. At any rate, alphanumeric passwords really just aren't hacking it in today's world of ubiquitous email and website hacks. Adding emoji to the mix certainly couldn't hurt — especially as part of two-factor authentication (one of the best ways to ensure your accounts are unhackable). As of now, it doesn't look like any banks or companies are taking up this emoji-based security, but we have our eggplant emoji crossed.

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