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Magic Touch: Bank App Verifies You by Your Typing Style

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 3 comments

Credit: LDprod/ShutterstockCredit: LDprod/Shutterstock

Several Scandinavian banks have found a better way to do password security. When a customer logs into one of the banks' mobile apps, the app will identify the customer based not only on a PIN or password, but also on the unique pattern of pressure and timing with which the user taps the keys.

When each person types certain characters, he or she tends to type them in a certain way. How hard do you tap the keys? Do you tap the keys in the center, or tend to hit the corners? Do you hesitate at a certain spot mid-sequence? All these little behaviors add up to a recognizable pattern, which software from Stockholm-based technology company Behaviosec can recognize.

MORE: 7 Scariest Security Threats Headed Your Way

No one likes passwords: They're both hard to remember and easy to steal. But other kinds of verification, including biometric ones such as iris or fingerprint scans, require extra hardware and therefore extra money. That's why Behaviosec's BehavioMobile software may make a difference.

"[The software]'s constantly learning," Behaviosec founder Neil Costigan told Forbes. "The behavior is always watched and your profile is constantly updated."

So far, the technology appears to work: Behaviosec said that in a trial run with Copenhagen-based Danske Bank, BehavioMobile achieved a 99.7 percent success rate.

Eventually, this same technology could one day differentiate users of the same touch device, Costigan told Forbes. For example, if someone else picked up your iPad and started browsing, the pattern of that person's touches could identify him or her.

However, Costigan added that that feature was still far into the future, as it would require much more memory and nuance than today's devices can support.

BehavioMobile login authentication

Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can follow Jill on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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    koga73 , August 19, 2014 11:00 AM
    Great Idea!
  • 0 Hide
    husker , August 19, 2014 2:36 PM
    The article criticizes current bio-metric methods because they "require extra hardware and therefore extra money." But then goes on to say that this new method is "still far into the future, as it would require much more memory and nuance than today's devices can support" By nuance they mean a keyboard that can detect which part of the key was struck and how hard it was struck. That seems like much more extra hardware and expense then the currently proven bio-metric readers.
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , August 20, 2014 6:24 AM
    1: "No one likes passwords." Well, those of us who need security do like them, as part of a fuller authentication protocol.

    2: Reminds me of the days of the telegraph. At least according to Western fiction, the operators could recognize each others' "fists." A plot element involves bad guy seizing station, using telegraph, receiver recognizing that this is not the expected operator. So we're back to that.
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