Do you think technology like QRHook demoed in CTB can make our web site both ultra secure and easy to access?
Hey, Tech Innovator – I saw you at the first Columbia Tech Breakfast as one of the sponsors. I liked all the presentations, especially the one by QRHook. We want our site to be easy to access, and yet very secure. Do you think technologies like QRHook can make our web site both ultra secure and easy to access? ~ Tim C
Hey, Tim – it was good to see you at the recent Columbia Tech Breakfast event. Lik
e you, I enjoyed the presentation by QRHook – it really got me thinking about security and ease-of-use issues.
For those who don’t know QRHook, the company provides a service designed to prevent attacks like the recent hacking of Amazon and Apple that resulted in the shutting down of the digital accounts of a well known blogger, Mat Honan. (Story here.)
QRHook provides a new way of authenticating any web site. Instead of using passwords and log-ins, they provide QR codes. Web visitors scan the code with their mobile phone, and will be logged into the web site.
During his presentation, founder Chris Lee described QRHook as a verification process that provides unique QR codes, each with multiple types of information embedded.
Here’s how it works. You are provided a QR code that is only for you. When you scan it with your mobile phone, your phone sends a signal back to the site that identifies you as a valid user. Only your mobile phone can send the signal. If you try to access the site from another phone, it will not match.
Going back to the incident with Amazon and Apple security – the problem was basic email and password authentication. Other mechanisms like double verification process can make the authentication process more secure but still have risks and mainly has poor user experience. QRHook appears to be able to solve that problem.
Keep in mind, this Tech Innovator is an expert in innovative and emerging technology, not security. There might be ways to break QRHook. But based on their presentation, it seems that QR Hook is taking the right approach to providing companies with a secure web site that is easy to access.
The next step for a company like QRHook is to think about the business model and marketing. For example, in my opinion, the presenters were thinking more as developers and less as businesspeople. Unfortunately, the audience was not told whether the founders were applying for a patent for this technology – something of interest to all entrepreneurs.
The presenters also neglected to tell the audience how businesses would use the technology. They did a great job showing the end user how they would use the QR code. But they did not describe how a company would use the technology on their website to provide security.
In future presentations, one hopes the presenters will encourage companies to add QRHook to their web sites. They should answer questions, such as: how easy or difficult is it to add to your web site? What is the cost? How does it work from a technical standpoint? What else do companies need to be thinking about?
Such a discussion will allow executives to make a decision on whether to use QRHook for their web site.
And from a usability standpoint, there are other issues I would address. For example, not everyone has a smart phone. And then there are those (like this Tech Innovator) who always carry their smart phone with them, but don’t like scanning QR codes. Perhaps QRHook should conduct a user experience study to determine how many people are comfortable using QR codes.
Overall, I found the technology and demo to be really impressive. Without typing anything, they simply scanned the QR code and they were in. But I believe that more user education is necessary – especially for the businesses that presumably are the paying audience of QRHook.
I appreciate your question, Tim. Security and ease-of-access are important issues for every company. My company, motifworks, is a development partner to SafeNet, which is a cloud security provider that is making breakthroughs around ease-of-use and security in cloud. I’ll be sharing insights from that work soon.
Thanks also for coming to our first CTB meetup. I encourage anyone reading this post to attend our future Columbia (Maryland) Tech Breakfast and Baltimore Tech Breakfast monthly meetups. Both are a great place to see technologists showcase the hot new products they are working on – and hopefully learn something that can improve your business.
See soon I hope!
Motifworks (www.oldwebsite.motifworks.com) is a partner in emerging technology and innovation for business problem-solvers. Companies as large as Microsoft and Sears and as small as one-person start-ups rely on motifworks for lower cost, better delivery and more innovative thinking. For a partner in emerging technology and innovation, contact motifworks at firstname.lastname@example.org.