The payments firm says people will start inserting security devices into their body to enable their unique bodily characteristics to let them into their PayPal accounts, which are commonly targeted by hackers and phishers.

Jonathan LeBlanc, global head of developer advocacy at PayPal, said: “As long as passwords remain the standard methods for identifying your users on the web, people will still continue to use 'letmein' or 'password123' for their secure login, and will continue to be shocked when their accounts become compromised.”

Paypal's campus. Image: paypall

PayPal says that more secure biometric systems built around fingerprints and iris scans are set to become outdated, even before most institutions – including PayPal – adopt them. Keep up to date with all Techworlds security innovation coverage here.

LeBlanc works with engineers and developers to find and test new technologies. He says embeddable, injectable and ingestible devices are the future for mobile payments and sensitive online interactions.

LeBlanc is currently giving a presentation called Kill all Passwords at various technology conferences around the US and Europe, and says technology is moving towards “true integration with the human body”.

He says external body methods like fingerprints are “antiquated”, and that internal body functions like heartbeat and vein recognition using embedded and ingestible devices are the future, to allow “natural body identification”. LeBlanc says internal devices could include brain implants, and that ingestible devices could be powered by stomach acid that runs batteries.

Halifax Bank is trialling heart monitoring technology to authenticate its customers through account security systems, without them having to memorise passwords, but it won't be expecting them to swallow anything. Instead, the Halifax will be offering an ECG wristband.

PayPal is already working with partners to build vein recognition technologies as well as heartbeat recognition bands similar to the Halifax. As for the more advanced (or extreme) internal technologies, LeBlanc isn't providing a PayPal roadmap for them at this stage.

Paypal update

A PayPal spokeswoman said: “We have no plans to develop injectable or edible verification systems. It's clear that passwords as we know them will evolve and we aim to be at the forefront of those developments. We were a founding member of the FIDO alliance, and the first to implement fingerprint payments with Samsung. New PayPal-driven innovations such as one touch payments make it even easier to remove the friction from shopping. We’re always innovating to make life easier and payments safer for our customers no matter what device or operating system they are using.” 

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