“Walk This Way” to Better Security

I can already hear and see the next Apple iPhone video in my head. Steven Tyler and Aerosmith pumping in the background as a hip looking model struts down the street with her fully authenticated iPhone15 tucked in her back pocket.

Forget Fingerprints!

Did you know that fingerprints are on the way out and how you interact with your phone, including how you walk with it is emerging as the next generation of biometric security? According to an article in the Economist the field of “behavioral biometrics” is promising a more secure future for humanity and their devices.

“That is why a new approach, behavioural biometrics, is gaining ground. It relies on the wealth of measurements made by today’s devices. These include data from accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors that reveal how people hold their phones when using them, how they carry them and even the way they walk. Touchscreens, keyboards and mice can be monitored to show the distinctive ways in which someone’s fingers and hands move. Sensors can detect whether a phone has been set down on a hard surface such as a table or dropped lightly on a soft one such as a bed. If the hour is appropriate, this action could be used to assume when a user has retired for the night. These traits can then be used to determine whether someone attempting to make a transaction is likely to be the device’s habitual user.”

The Gait Gateway

UnifyID, a Silicon Valley behavioral biometric firm, uses data from smartphones to create what they call a “unique motion fingerprint”. Their software sorts gaits into approximately 50,000 unique patterns that are based upon information as to how the user’s feet strike the ground, the length of their stride, cadence and the spring in their step. When combined with other data such as touchscreen interaction and user location a high degree of confidence emerges that the device user is the device owner.

Device Security vs. Big Brother?

This level of personalized security obviously requires tracking virtually your every movement 24X7. So I guess the question becomes how much of your personal privacy are you willing to share with 3rd parties in order to potentially keep your privacy more secure? Furthermore, what happens when all of your shared personal data gets hacked and flows out into the dark web? Interesting times ahead for sure!

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