10 Million Passwords released
Reuters

Google has unveiled a new login page for Gmail, stating that the new design is to prepare for "future authentification systems that complement passwords".

Gmail users are now greeted with a space to enter their username, but are redirected to a new webpage to enter their passwords.

The "future authentification systems" mentioned by Google in the blogpost announcing the change are not clear, though it could be referencing the rise of biometric authentication methods on smartphones or even a web-based version of Android's "Smart Lock" system.

google gmail password
Google's new Gmail login pageGoogle

Google also cites other advantages of splitting the username and password fields, such as reducing confusion among people who have multiple Google accounts, and providing a better experience for university students or corporate users that sign in with a different identity provider than Google.

Numerous security breaches in recent years that exploit vulnerabilities with passwords have led some security experts to suggest that it is an outdated system that needs replacing.

Fernando Corbató, the man credited with creating the computer password, believes that the 50-year-old system has become "a bit of a nightmare" and only good for preventing "casual snooping".

Spear-fishing campaigns that involve targeting employees at a specific organisation with fake emails that require the worker to enter their username and password have become "the new normal", according to one security analyst.

"The underlying issue is that the username and password system is old technology that is not up to the standard required to secure the deep information and private services that we as individuals store and access online today," Brian Spector, CEO of CertiVox, told IBTimes UK after a massive security breach on eBay last year.

"(The eBay) incident is just the latest in a long line of attacks that highlight the need for the wider technology industry to take another look at the methods that they employ to secure services and data."