Buttoning down security November 1, 2015
My employer recently rolled out new security policies, including stricter requirements for passwords. As often the case, strong passwords using the new scheme can be a bit difficult to remember, and the unnatural mix of symbols makes them slow to type. A system with less strict password rules paired with a physical key (the “something you know/something you have” combo) would be more secure and convenient, but it is usually something that needs to be rolled out at a company level. I came up with a compromise.
iButtons are kind of a cool technology, albeit one that never made it out of certain niche markets. Basically, iButtons are 1-Wire chips in ruggedized packages similar to coin cell batteries. They only need two connections — combined data/power and ground — so the battery form factor works well. iButtons have unique 64 bit IDs and can join a 1-Wire “MicroLAN” with just a touch to a reader. I’ve had an assortment of 1-Wire and iButton hardware for a long time but never found a good use for it… until now.