“Forgot your password?” It seems to happen almost every day. With so many online accounts to manage, remembering the correct password is a common challenge in today’s technological era. A new startup is trying to rethink the way we log in to websites.
The idea for Clef first came to Brennen Byrne while he was working at Adobe. Around that time, LinkedIn suffered a major security breach, losing up to 6 million passwords. Byrne realized that there had to be a more secure system of logging in. “I was working on using our phones to identify ourselves and realized that they could do a much better job than simple passwords,” Byrne told Opportunity Lives.
Clef relies on two-factor authentication, a system that drastically improves security by relying on two separate components to log in – in this case, the computer and a smartphone. But unlike most two-factor systems that require you to request a code on your phone and enter it into the computer, Clef requires only a wave of your phone in front of the screen. This ensures convenience for users and is often faster than trying to remember the correct password.
Clef uses the iPhone fingerprint technology (or a pin on the smartphone) to ensure maximum security, and the unique login images generated by the Clef system prohibit unauthorized access or password hacking. Clef also has a security team that reviews location information to prevent fraud. The app even allows you to log out of your browsing session from anywhere in the world, simply by tapping a button on your smartphone.
The idea has taken off, with close to 45,000 websites using Clef for their logins today. The team, based in Oakland, California, is growing quickly and Byrne said the primary goal is to integrate the service with more websites. “We want to kill passwords everywhere,” he said.
Clef already supports more than 10 languages and is rapidly expanding internationally. Websites can add Clef support for unlimited users with unlimited logins for free. They only pay subscription fees if they want support, advanced analytics, or the option to self-host the service.