Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report claimed that “The writing’s on the wall for single-factor, password-based authentication on anything internet facing”. It’s true, with two out of three data breaches attributed to lost or stolen user names and passwords, multi-factor authentication is fast becoming the norm. Of course multi-factor authentication does not prevent the theft of credentials but it does help protect against the fraudulent re-use of those credentials.
Yesterday Verizon announced that it had added QR Code login as a new feature of their Universal Identity Services. Users sign up for a Verizon Universal ID from a participating webpage and then download a mobile app that can scan a dynamically generated QR code on a login page. Once the user’s identity is confirmed they are authenticated to the website. The QR code login can be used alone or combined with a PIN number or password for transactions that require stronger security.
Toyota Motor Corporation spin-off DENSO Corporation celebrated the 20th birthday of the QR Code on Thursday. It is not clear why August 7 was chosen as the official birthday date but it is the birthday of Masahiro Hara, the inventor of the QR Code. The filing date for the first QR Code patent (Japanese Patent JP2938338) was March 14, 1994 and I am not entirely sure why that date is not regarded as the official birthday.
Anyway Toyota Tsusho ID Systems have put up a celebratory webpage (now no longer available but this is a Internet Archive link) which includes the graphic displayed here. Unfortunately the QR Code simply resolves to the website’s home page which is not very imaginative and seems to be a lost opportunity to promote the company. And why not a cake like this one
Masahiro Hara, the inventor of the QR Code has been nominated for the 2014 European Patent Office (EPO) award in the Non-European countries category (video below).
As well as receiving around 150,000 patent applications every year the EPO holds an annual European Inventor Award competition. Anyone can nominate an inventor but the winners are chosen by EPO experts and an independent international jury. They evaluate innovations not only on their technological originality but also on their economic and social impact.
Prizes are awarded in various categories but there is one ‘Popular Prize’ chosen by the public from all the shortlisted finalists. This year the award ceremony will be held in Berlin, Germany, on 17 June and you can vote for Masahiro Hara and his colleagues in the ‘Popular Prize’ category here (closing date 10 June).
Yesterday’s Vecernji List, Croatia’s national newspaper, had an interesting QR Code on the front page (image below). Scanning the code can win readers cash prizes between 10,000 and 50,000 Kuna ($1,800 – $9,000) entirely at random. The promotion which lasts for a week is designed to raise the newspaper’s profile and to increase last years poor sales of smartphones in Croatia. Pass this onto your friends and if you get lucky remember you heard it here first!
The UK’s Royal Mint announcement yesterday that there is to be a new pound coin gives me the opportunity to resurrect an idea I had 3 years ago. As always the reigning British monarch’s head will be on one side of the coin but the Royal Mint is to run a public competition to choose the design for the reverse of the coin. My idea is to put a QR Code on the new coin. The QR Code would resolve to a server operated by the Royal Mint and then redirected to wherever they chose. The Royal mint would then auction weekly leases on the QR Code redirect. With 1.5 billion pound coins (currently) in circulation this could be attractive to many businesses, particularly if they run a promotion with a competition. For example “Scan the pound in your pocket to enter the Pepsi grand challenge”. There are three things I particularly like about my idea. Firstly if a competition goes viral everyone with a pound coin can enter immediately. Secondly people may get used to scanning a pound coin once a week just to see what’s there. Thirdly, last year the Royal Mint’s return on capital was 0.5% but with a new revenue stream from QR Code leasing this could be increased by a significant factor.