Yahoo has announced some new initiatives that the company promises will make using its email service easier and more secure.
At an SXSW session today, Yahoo launched ‘on-demand passwords,’ which it says will eliminate the need to ever have to remember your email password; it gets sent via SMS to your mobile phone whenever you need it.
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Yahoo’s Tumblr outlines the steps:
1. Sign in to your Yahoo email account.
2. Click on your name at the top right corner to access your account information page.
3. Choose Security in the sidebar.
4. Click on the slider for on-demand passwords, in order to opt-in.
5. Enter your phone number and Yahoo will send you a verification code.
6. Enter the code.
The next time you sign in, Yahoo will send a password to your phone when you need it.
Dylan Casey, Yahoo’s vice president of product management, told TNW that even if people are already using a password manager, the system will take that into account. While on-demand passwords is designed as a convenience, it is not for everyone, as Casey points out in the interview below. Eventually, he said, Yahoo will be introducing authentication methods that are more secure than SMS.
The on-demand password option is now available for US users.
In other news, Alex Stamos, Yahoo’s chief information security officer, shared some developments regarding the company’s end-to-end (e2e) encryption plugin for Yahoo Mail. This is designed for specialized uses such sharing private documents or sending mail in countries with repressive political systems.
Right now, Yahoo is making the source code available for feedback from security experts, and it plans to make intuitive e2e encryption available for everyone by the end of the year.