If you’re like most, you’ve got dozens of online accounts and login credentials, and are constantly forgetting and resetting the passwords. That’s what Chris Wentz and CiCi Qian often experienced at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where they were also regularly getting locked out of their dorm rooms.
So in 2014 the pair created EveryKey, an encrypted master key that allows users to simultaneously unlock mobile devices, laptops, website accounts and electronic car locks. It’s currently available as a wearable wristband or key chain accessory, but may have other incarnations in the future.
EveryKey grew out of Wentz’s university entrepreneurship class. The course’s professor challenged students to create a product or service that addressed some type of irritation caused by the modern world. Wentz and Qian hit upon the idea of a master device that could unlock everything, and do so in a secure, encrypted fashion.
“Using AES 128-bit encryption, all of the usernames and passwords for your online accounts are encrypted and stored in our database with an encryption key that only you know,” Tom Emelko, EveryKey’s Chief Technology Officer, tells The Creators Project. “The laptop and phone lock passwords are encrypted and stored in the secure device keychain.”
EveryKey communicates with devices through Bluetooth low energy, a reduced power consumption version of Bluetooth designed for the Internet of Things. EveryKey’s Chief Communication Officer Daniel Thomas explains that Wentz and Qian paired this protocol with a patent that allows users to simultaneously unlock multiple devices. He says that the Bluetooth low energy radio signal essentially tells the device, whether it be a laptop or a car’s electronic locking mechanism, to unlock the device.
“It tells the device to unlock itself because the password to unlock the device is stored in the keychain of the device itself,” Thomas explains. “That’s how it bypasses locks. As far as being able to log you into your online account, that information is stored encrypted on our encrypted servers.”
“The hardware and design came a little further down the line,” Thomas says. “It started off as just a wristband, but now the technology is more versatile so that you can also accessorize it as a key ring.”
And if the wristband or key ring accessory is lost, users can simply contact EveryKey through the website or by phone and ask them to freeze the device. At that point EveryKey becomes, as Thomas says, “useless” and unable to unlock anything.
Interestingly, the team has attracted the attention of the madcap technologist John McAfee, who is now EveryKey’s chief evangelist. He calls the master lock a “fucking game changer."
In the near future, Thomas says that EveryKey will release a software development kit that will allow third party developers to integrate EveryKey’s technology with their systems, whether it’s for web applications or physical locks. And this wearable password manager doesn’t trip your trigger, there is Nymi, which replaces passwords and keys with a heartbeat-sensing wristband.
Click here to learn more about EveryKey.