How You Type Your Password Could Be Its Own Security Measure | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Yes, that looks very safe (Ted Soqui/Corbis)

How You Type Your Password Could Be Its Own Security Measure

Your phone could learn your typing behavior and use that to keep itself safe from intruders

smithsonian.com

If you have a smartphone, it's probably the master key to your world.

Think about it for a second. If you're even mildly security-conscious, you've probably taken a couple of steps to protect yourself online: you've stepped up to two-factor authentication on your email. You've got nice strong passwords for different services. They're probably saved in an app or folder in the cloud.

But on your phone...your email logs in automatically? Your Facebook and Twitter, too? And there's your Dropbox folder, and 1Password app and Google Authenticator.

Your phone is the key to everything, and there's basically nothing protecting your phone. If you're like most people, your phone is secured by a four digit PIN or a simple pattern of connect-the-dots. And those aren't particularly strong: you probably know some of your friends' passwords by accident.

Figuring out how to make phones more secure without adding massive layers of frustration and complexity is a tough nut to crack. Some technologies, like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition, are largely works-in-progress. But one company, Behaviosec, think they've figured it out.

Behaviosec's mobile security system uses a pattern or PIN just like normal, but to this they add a second layer—one that, theoretically, you won't even notice.

Rather than just paying attention to what pattern you enter, the system also tracks how you enter it, says Parmy Olson for Forbes. The system “tracks the pressure and speed of how customers type a pin number into their smartphones. This way even if a friend knows someone’s pin, they wouldn’t be able to get in thanks to all the automatic nuances in the way people type, such as rhythm and pressure on the keys.”

Whether the system would lock you out when you're groggily fumbling for your phone or drunkenly trying to call a cab, however, is another matter.  

Here's a video from Behaviosec of the system in action:

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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