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.
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.
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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+.