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Emoji Passwords Launched By UK Firm To Replace Four-Digit Pin Code

A UK based company, Intelligent Environments claims to have created an alternative to replace the traditional four digit PIN code with an emoji passcode. There are 44 emojis available in the passcode service.

Intelligent Environments say its Emoji Passcode service is more safe because there are more possible combinations of the 44 emojis than there are of the numbers 0-9. The intense complexity of the emoji character makes it difficult to break into bank accounts to a greater extent. They also claim that some digital banks have already shown interest in the idea.

Given is a small explanation that details the maths behind the claim of increased security, which is calculated as: “Traditional PIN = 7,290 unique permutations of four non-repeating numbers vs Emoji Passcode = 3,498,308 million unique permutations of non-repeating emojis, based on a selection size of 44 emoji.”

Memory expert, Tony Buzan has been quoted as saying: “The Emoji Passcode plays to humans’ extraordinary ability to remember pictures, which is anchored in our evolutionary history. We remember more information when it’s in pictorial form, that’s why the Emoji Passcode is better than traditional PINs.”

David Webber, managing director of Intelligent Environments, said the system was created to appeal to 15-25-year-olds.

“Why can’t financial service be fun and innovative?” he said.

“It’s just another method of logging in.”

Mr. Webber, however said that his company had not patented the idea yet.

“I don’t think it’s patentable. But I do think we are the first people to have thought of it,” he told the BBC.

Prof Alan Woodward, a well known cyber security Expert said that the use of images and patterns was already used by some firms as an another possibility to remember complicated sequences of letters and numbers.

Here is Emoji password in action

“I think this is an interesting and potentially valuable step forward,” he said.

“If we persist in using passwords, which seem to be here for a while yet, we need to recognise how humans think and make these as easy to remember as possible.”

“The combinations and permutations present a would-be hacker with having to run through a number of cycles that is even greater than they do for so-called dictionary attacks.”

“But I’m sure there are hackers who will work on breaking into these systems so I think it still makes sense to have some sort of two-factor authentication.”

However, Michael Tipper, former memory champion told the BBC that the method to keep in mind a particular order of either numbers or pictures was basically the same.

“Fundamentally we are hard-wired to remember pictures,” he said.

“However, people are lazy and they will adopt the easiest way through.”

“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.”

Mr. Tipper, however, cited that human behaviour could be a major fault in the idea.

“I think what needs to happen is more rigour in terms of testing the behavioural aspect of this,” he said.