Israeli start-up SlickLogin has been acquired by Google for its sound authentication technology
Israeli start-up SlickLogin founders Or Zelig and Ori Kabeli at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013Geektime

Google has announced it has just acquired SlickLogin, a six-month-old start-up based in Israel that uses sound to verify a user's identity when logging into a website.

"We started SlickLogin because security measures had become overly complicated and annoying. Our friends thought we were insane, but we knew we could do better. So we set out to improve security while still making it simple for people to log in," SlickLogin's founders Or Zelig, Eran Galili and Ori Kabeli wrote on their official website.

"Google was the first company to offer two-step verification to everyone, for free - and they're working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone. We couldn't be more excited to join their efforts."

The acquisition is rumoured to be worth several million, according to GeekTime, and Google is no stranger to Israel's tech valley Silicon Wadi, having acquired four other Israeli firms and set up a development centre there.

So what exactly is SlickLogin?

Started by three graduates of the Israel Defence Forces' elite cyber security unit, SlickLogin is behind a new smart identification solution that uses high frequency, inaudible sounds emitted by a smartphone's speakers.

All a user has to do is place the smartphone next to their desktop computer or tablet, and the sound emitted from the smartphone can be used to replace a password when logging into websites on a desktop computer, or as an additional security token in a two-factor system.

Software on the computer or tablet analyses the sound frequency from the smartphone and uses it to identify the user and grant access to the service.

The technology was first showcased at the TechCrunch Disrupt technology conference in San Francisco in September 2013. At the moment, the Tel Aviv-based company only has three employees and there is no indication when the product will be launched.

Google launched two-factor authentication technology in February 2011 as an extra layer of protection for users of its services, such as Gmail.

A six-digit authentication code is sent to the user's smartphone via SMS text message or an automated call is made to the user's smartphone, if the user is seen to login to a computer that has not been identified as the user's main computer.

However this method can be frustrating if the mobile reception in your area isn't very strong, and the authentication code changes every minute.

SlickLogin says that its technology enables "military-grade security", and while the technologies are currently patent-pending, all three founders have extensive experience in developing security products for military and government agencies, including hacking into existing systems to discover potential vulnerabilities.

So what could Google use this for?

Two-step verification has become particularly important in the financial industry.

When making mobile or online payments, some banks have an automated phone service that contacts the user and requires them to enter a one-time Pin code either generated by the website or by a special card reader that provides a unique pin code once a debit or credit card is inserted.

There is usually a time limit on how long one-time Pin codes can be used, making the authentication process more secure, but companies are always on the lookout for more secure ways to protect their users, since data breaches involving millions of users' personal data and passwords are starting to become a norm (in the last week alone we've seen Tesco and Kickstarter databases breached).

As Google continues to invent everything from wearable tech like augmented reality glasses and glucose level-detecting contact lenses, to driverless cars to gigabit fibre broadband, sound authentication could become a quick and better security method for everyday items.