What is it?
The Passfort is a security device that holds all your passwords and login information in one place, condensing all those various details you use to log into your accounts into one password. It works similarly to the keychain system on Apple computers. You store passwords and other details for just about any account to your Passfort, enter a master key when you want to log in and Passfort does the rest. The device connects to your mobile, tablet or computer via Bluetooth or USB and once you’re signed in will log into your accounts when presented with a sign-in page automatically.
The Passfort itself is a touchscreen tablet device, small enough to fit into your hand and made to be attached to your keys. The physical device is accompanied by an app that allows you to manage all your account information.
To gain access to your Passfort, you’ll need to enter a Master Key – a one password to rule them all kind of thing. The Master Key can be a 4 to 8 digit numeric key or a 4 to 8 image based passcode. If the Master Key is wrongly entered Passfort will block it for a customisable amount of time preventing unauthorised access. If the wrong Master Key is entered a certain amount of times, Passfort will erase all the stored data on the device.
What they say
The campaign page bills the Passfort as a security device, emphasising how well the Passfort will keep your details safe. The page is filled with video demos and shiny graphics.
Despite the great looking renders seen on their KickStarter page it appears there is still a long way to go for the Passfort. Xolutronic explain that after they meet their goal their software team will work to release the first beta versions for Windows and Mac OS, followed by a testing phase.
The team admit that producing such a gadget will be tricky, stating “While we have diligently prepared every step of the way with Passfort, manufacturing an electronic product comes with its fair share of challenges”, although they don’t name any specific problem that could arise during production.
Customisable designs could give the Passfort a huge boost in marketability
A big concern with a device like this one is just how safe could keeping all your data in one place really be? But Passfort assures us by claiming all data is “encrypted with the same method used by Security Agencies to protect classified information”.
At the time of writing this Passfort had raised $38,224/£24,384 of its $100,000/£63,793 target. $100k is a pretty steep target and could be a challenge given the minimum pledge backers can give is just $5/£3. Backers are enticed with rewards ranging from acknowledgement and special thanks on the Passfort website up to the Business Pack featuring 10 custom Passforts.
What we say
With fingerprint recognition quickly becoming the one stop method of securely signing into things on mobile, it’s only a matter of time before we see something similar for our other devices. While some laptops already have fingerprint scanners as a one stop for signing into accounts it isn’t a widespread feature. Passfort could bring password consolidation to the masses.
The Passfort seems to be quite well thought out, with great use across multiple platforms and thorough security measures. Watching Passfort in action is exciting because early prototypes appear to be working so well. We believe Passfort could be a real hit if the makers can really nail the functionality and with the prospect of storing credit card details, Passfort could go a long long way.
However, the real challenge we’re seeing Passfort face is the huge competition it’ll face from fingerprint scanners. Apple, Samsung and a number of other manufacturers are already neck and neck for who will do single system authentication best and with both already commanding legions of users, it’s hard to see a newcomer rocking the boat even if done as well as the Passfort. Passfort could argue that they’re not even in the same game as Apple, Samsung and other mobile OEMs, especially as their device works with computers and tablets. Looking to the future though, Passfort wouldn’t want to be a here today gone tomorrow device made obsolete by evermore integrated fingerprint scanners.