The United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA) has awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to researchers at the West Point academy, one of the US’s most prestigious military institutions, to promote the building of a behavior-based biometric identification system.
A behavior-based biometric system would detect how a computer user handles the mouse or crafts an email. It would be much harder to hack than traditional authentication techniques, such as passwords, PINs or conventional biometrics (eye scans and fingerprints).
The award comes under DARPA’s active authentication program. The aim of the program is to replace traditional authentication techniques with something more secure and convenient to use.
Researchers will use the grant to develop cognitive fingerprint algorithms that can learn and recognize behavioral patterns based on the way someone uses a mobile device or computer mouse.
People can be positively identified by their particular way of moving the cursor or touching a mobile screen.
“Just as when you touch something with your finger you leave behind a fingerprint, when you interact with technology you do so in a pattern based on how your mind processes information, leaving behind a cognitive fingerprint.”
DARPA hopes that this new biometric system can be developed and applied to encrypted data communications as a first step. But if the technology proves itself, the implications could go well beyond the US military, offering private organizations better protection from cyber-attacks.