Lock up your digital valuables with Latch, the digital padlock
The Latch mobile app allows users to control and monitor access to a host of shopping, banking, email and social accounts
The Latch app allows users to control access to online accounts with a variety of services, including banks and e-commerce sites, without of a username and password, adding an easy to use extra layer of security for peace of mind and to stop email and other accounts getting hacked.
“It’s like a physical latch in the digital realm – with one app you can just put the latch on and off, reducing the availability of your online accounts when you’re not using them, therefore reducing their exposure to hackers,” explained Chema Alonso, chief executive of the Telefonica-owned Eleven Paths told the Guardian.
Flick a switch to lock or open your accountsThe premise is simple. When a user’s online accounts are not in use, they are locked down meaning that they cannot be logged into even with the right username and password combination.
When the user wants to access their account they can simply flick a switch in the Latch app on their smartphone to instantly unblock them and allow the user to login with their normal username and password.
The app connects with the Latch server, which in turn connects to the service the user wants to log in to, identifying that the lockdown should be removed and making the account freely accessible.
The user can then lock down the account manually after they are done with it, automatically when they log out of it or after a set time, or have the latch opened only during certain hours, like a nine to five work day.
If a user, or a third-party, attempts to log into a locked down account, the app will notify the owner, giving users an instant notification that someone is attempting to access their accounts and that they might have had their username and password stolen.
Granular controlFor services that have a single sign-in but multiple applications such as email, calendar, cloud storage or an address book, Latch can be used to control access to all of them, or individual services.
Parents can use Latch to control children’s access to services, but without allowing parents access to the content itself - leaving emails, for example, private.
The Latch service has no access to username and passwords themselves – only a digital token that locks or unlocks accounts. This means that if Latch is hacked, the online accounts are still protected by the standard login details and if the user loses their smartphone, they can simply log in to Latch through another device.
Available for almost everythingThe service is in pilot testing with various providers, including Telefonica’s own mobile phone service, as well as three universities in Spain. Eleven Paths has made it easy for online services to integrate Latch into their offerings, including open development kits and plugins for various platforms including blogging service WordPress.
Despite being a Telefonica business, the Latch app is an independent and can be used by anyone on any network.
The free Latch app was launched for iPhone and Android in December, but is now available for Windows Phone and FireFox OS, with a BlackBerry app in development.