Monthly Archives: August 2011

Using speech recognition for passwords

By Kimberly Patch

I get a lot of questions about how to use speech recognition software for passwords.

Speech is inherently different from the keyboard because people can tell what your password is when you say it out loud. And when the password is unpronounceable you end up spelling it, which is both nonsecure and tedious.

I see a lot of people using the not-so-great solution of mapping a cryptic password to something pronounceable using the Dragon vocabulary manager or the Utter Command Enter List facility (UC Enter List lets you combine words with the Enter key). Neither method is very secure, because the mapping is in a utility that someone can simply look at.

The easiest good solution is to use what’s already there — check “Remember Password” on your browser and when you type your username the password will fill in automatically. Set a master password in your browser to protect the list of passwords (in Firefox click tools/options/security and check “Use a Master Password”).

Once you have Remember Password set up, put your username(s) in the Utter Command Enter List (say “Add Enter” to open the Enter List) and you’ll be able to say your username plus “Enter” in a single phrase. With “Remember Password” checked the password will fill in automatically and you’ll be able to log on using a single speech command.

Another good solution is a password manager like Roboform, which manages all your passwords (there’s a free version). All you need to do is enter a master password when you turn on your computer. Roboform also automatically fills in forms for you. It takes some set up, but in the end it makes things easier.