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Google has acquired SlickLogin, an Israeli security startup that has developed a product that uses unique high-frequency sounds and a smartphone to help simplify the process of securely signing in to Web services.
The announcement was made on SlickLogin’s website. “Today we’re announcing that the SlickLogin team is joining Google, a company that shares our core beliefs that logging in should be easy instead of frustrating, and authentication should be effective without getting in the way,” the announcement reads. Google didn’t immediately comment on the announcement.
SlickLogin is an early-stage company that launched at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference only a few months ago; terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Since Google was early to the idea of offering two-factor authentication as an option to help secure its many services — such as Gmail — it’s clearly acquiring this company in order to enhance those capabilities. If you use two-factor authentication now, the most common way is to use an app on your smartphone that generates a new six-digit number that changes every 30 seconds after you’ve entered your password. The point is that you’re entering something you know, and supplementing it with something you have that is more or less impossible for a hacker to guess. It’s not perfect, but it goes a long way toward making your account harder to hack.
A site enabled with SlickLogin’s technology can use your computer’s speakers to generate a high-frequency sound that’s silent to human ears but which can be picked up by the microphone on a smartphone. The phone has to be close to the computer. Each audio signal is unique, and based on a unique numerical key that’s generated on the back end. The service can also be used to sign into banks, corporate VPNs and pretty much any other kind of service.
Its founders are Or Zelig, a former data security expert with the Israeli Defense Forces, and two security researchers, Eran Galili and Ori Kabeli.