Authentication firm SecurEnvoy has invented a simple way for remote users to log in to their organisation’s network by swiping a QR code on their mobile phone in front of their laptop's webcam.

Called ‘One Swipe’, the user simply enters a PIN number (‘something they know’), which causes the mobile app on their phone (‘something they have’) to generate a one-time QR code that is photographed by the webcam to complete authentication.

The advantage is that the user avoids having to repeatedly enter a user name, password and dedicated one-time password when using a VPN; the only data entered directly by the user is the unique PIN number.  The firm hasn't revealed the system's innards in detail but in essence the code is generating patterrns that express the user's login credentials in QR code form on a time-limited basis.

According to SecurEnvoy, this overcomes the hassle of many authentication systems that users are being asked to remember more and more information in order access systems remotely. Importantly, the patent-pending design also works even when the smartphone has no signal and can compensate even if users log in from different time zones.

The issue of carrying out authentication without phone coverage is an easy problem to overlook. Many tokenless authentication technologies depend on the ability to send one-time passwords (OTPs) to phones, but what happens if the signal is blocked or the location is remote? Users will find themselves locked out.

“The One Swipe technology provides a secure and easy way for users to identify themselves offline if they do not have mobile phone reception,”  emphasised SecurEnvoy technical director, Andy Kemshall.

“We have once again expanded the number of options available to our users and remain true to our vision of ‘Authenticate your way’. All users can thus identify themselves unambiguously in a way that suits them, and easily switch between the various methods SMS, e-mail, One Swipe,” he said.

"What everyone wants is a very simple login process."

In August, Kemshall was critical of PayPal’s decision to use facial recognition to verify payments in shops.  His firm’s argument remains that smartphones remains the best option as long as the authentication process doesn’t  get in the way.