Do you need a password? Not anymore, if a software developed at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology becomes mainstream. In this news release, Newswise writes that researchers have developed a software able “to identify computer users — with high accuracy — by their individual, distinct typing styles.”
This “behaviometric” technology may one day be part of security systems to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to computers and sensitive data.
The system prototype was developed in the Data Mining Lab of the Technions Computer Science Faculty by students Ido Yariv and Mordechai Nisenson, under the supervision of Technion Professors Ran El-Yaniv and Ron Meir.
Their paper, “Towards Behaviometric Security Systems: Learning to Identify a Typist,” was presented at the European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML/PKDD 2003).
“This software is based upon a universal prediction algorithm,” explains El-Yaniv. “It utilizes statistics gathered while a person types freely, and learns the specific behavior patterns that accurately identify the typist.” He goes on to explain that time differential patterns between consecutive keystrokes can uniquely determine a user. In some cases, this can be accomplished after only a very few keystrokes.
Is the system really accurate?
The systems accuracy depends upon the length of its training. But even after a relatively short session consisting of several typed sentences, the system can distinguish the user from potential intruders with around 90 percent accuracy from a sentence as short as What did you do today? After its initial training, the system continues monitoring the user and obtaining more keystroke sequences, allowing it to reach extremely high rates of recognition.
Now, the researchers want to check the systems reliability by introducing some “noise” changing the typing signature, like a finger injury. Will they break the fingers of their testers? The story doesn't go that far.
Source: American Technion Society, via Newswise, September 29, 2003 [Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends]