Your next password will come out of your body

There are many things about you that make you different from everyone else. Do not just talk about things like your size, or your particular sense of humor. No, we are talking about quantifiable, measurable things and allow distinguish a computer from someone else. Biometric parameters can unambiguously identify where you want to put a safety barrier.

For months we’ve been hearing about a future without passwords. Combinations of characters as a method to identify have been the norm for years, but are not without drawbacks. It is not advisable to use the same for all, and the more complex, more secure result. But with the amount of services and various devices we use the risk of forgetting or intersperse them is enormous. For the unlocking of mobile, there are fewer options and we do many times a day, so the problem is not so much as mention the combination of boredom enter it each time, and the danger that someone might bust it and gain our personal information.

New methods of identification, more intuitive and insurance are emerging en masse, many of them related to aspects of our own body. It does not seem that passwords are to completely disappear, at least for now, but hopefully more and more have to live with other forms of authentication. Here are some of them, from the most common today to those that are under development.

At your fingertips

The use of fingerprint security barrier has an advantage over other, thanks to the impetus given that Apple include in iPhone 5S. Shortly afterwards, Samsung announced that its Galaxy S5 also include this identification system.

There were few who tried to test this system (some even speculated about a macabre wave of amputations of fingers), and it took little to get it, even while recognizing the increased safety terminal to the numeric passwords or unlock patterns. But not only smartphones live fingerprints. Paytouch is a startup Catalan has chosen this verification system to make payments. You only have to register with a specific terminal, giving personal information, credit card and fingerprints and associated and may be paid in arranged trades.

The voice, a unique fingerprint

The attendees of voice are landing in our lives little by little. Being a complex technology, there is still significant work ahead of improvement, since the level of some users to deal with Siri and other similar systems are not despeciable.

But in addition to attendees, the voice will serve as identifier parameter, especially suitable in small, as wearables and similar devices. Vlad Sejnoha is head of the technology Office of Nuance, company specialized in speech software, and one of its tasks is the design and refinement of these security and identification systems. Some companies already use this technology to detect fraud attempts in their call centers to give faster access to their clients or to renew their employees’ passwords.

To function are based on what is called the voiceprint “analyze voice samples and checked the shape and length of the vocal tract, in addition to the tone and pace of conversation. When a client logs into the system, a voice sample is collected and a trace that is stored for future use “is removed. That mark is the pattern that the customer’s voice is compared when calling, generating a rate of coincidence that it gives access to the system or rejects the input.


The shape of your ear

The display of many phones can recognize more complex than a simple tap of the finger patterns. The company has launched Descartes Biometrics App Android Ergo that maps the points of contact when you press your ear against her smartphone, creating a pattern that compared with other previously established to detect and identify if they match the user. The security level is customizable, and may require several samples or one, depending on the risk that we think we suffer from losing the phone.

Using our ear footprint has some advantages over the use of our fingerprint. For starters, their size allows scan it using mobile technology itself, without having to implement a specific sensor, reducing cost and increasing accessibility. Moreover, it is a natural and intuitive gesture, as is to take the phone to your ear.

Face Recognition

Everyone who has an account on Facebook, and at this point there are few who are spared, it has undergone a process of facial recognition. The social network uses this technology to identify people in the photos we climbed, suggest tags and basically interrelate as precisely as possible. In fact, he likes to brag about the quality of their algorithm, recently claimed it was almost as good at recognizing people like ourselves.

The advantage of the company’s Zuckerberg is the amount of data you work with, and a good quality image to work with this system is necessary. Other technology, such as Samsung, including facial recognition on their devices to identify you but despite the improvement in camera quality, the number of false negatives is high because things like light or camera angle affect to pattern recognition. To have a role as a substitute or supplement passwords, this technology has yet to improve.

Yes, however it is used as part of the police action. If security cameras captured a public place a crime and the offender can be identified using the trail that we leave own photographs online, the police can save time and facilitate its work.

To the rhythm of your heartbeat

Cardiac activity and electrical signals are different for each of us, and are very difficult to replicate. For years now we have the technology to record the data, but only recently it has been reduced to be portable, accessible and minimally invasive. There are few wearables, especially those aimed at fitness activities that measure the user’s heart rate, why not turn it into an identification system? That is what proposed Bracelet nymi is. Instead of counting steps, count beats to confirm your identity.

The additional advantage is that it does not connect to a single device, but with all wirelessly communicates with your mobile phone, your tablet, your computer, your home automation system and even your smart car. “The idea is that the services, your personal accounts and your information just follow you everywhere you go and everything you need is your identity,” says Karl Martin, CEO of Bionym, the developer of nymi.

Your typing speed

As you may recognize someone by their footsteps, also our way of typing is unique: each follow a different pattern speed, pace, time press on each key and the space between one letter and the next. Therefore, some sites online courses as Coursera, have the option signature track, a way to identify students who apply for a certificate verified based on its pattern of typing. Because through internet anyone can pose as a student, you are asked to register the typed phrase, which must be re-entered to prove that he is the same person.

Something that could be expanded to all amenities. It is what they claim some companies that specialize in what they call behavioral biometrics. This is based on unconsciously, individuals use the keyboard and computer mouse in predictable ways, and those ways can identify with confidence: how much took to click buttons on the screen, how much time spent moving on a menu, if we move around the page using the mouse wheel, arrow position or the position bar. All of these combined create a unique pattern.

“No need to find a unique behavior for each person on the planet, we just have to know enough to verify that a person is who they claim to be. We look at someone’s behavior to see if it matches your previous behavior”, explains Neil Costigan, CEO of Behaviosec, a Swedish company dedicated to this sector.

Cast your own password

In case you thought the heartbeat was the most futuristic identification system that could be devised, here are some proposals that demonstrate that there is always someone who thinks they arrive to take another step. For example, Motorola, which in May 2013 provided a surprising proposal: a tattoo called BioSTAMP with integrated flexible electronic circuits intended to be used for authentication purposes. According to its developers, sufficient that the user was close partner for it will recognize the device.

But if you take the skin authentication is not enough, how about eating it? Motorola introduced the same pill Proteus Digital Health, a harmless capsule with a battery that worked through the stomach acid. The pill creates a unique, similar to an electrocardiogram that can be detected by devices external to the body to verify the identity of a user signal.

The company itself acknowledged that there was no future prospect for both market developments, although it had successfully tested. “Authentication is irritating, while only half of people go through it with your smartphone, despite the amount of information we store in them, which makes you much more vulnerable to identity theft”, explained Regina Dugan, vice president of advanced research at Motorola.


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