As Geoff said last week, people are pretty lazy when it comes to creating secure passwords. It seems convenience is more of a need than personal security is for most people. That’s why there is so much research that goes into finding ways of providing secure authentication for one to access their personal information. Passwords thart don’t require remembering a 36 character password with strange symbols. Or I’m just old – but hey, we shouldn’t need to struggle to prove that we are who we are – right?
The focus on biometrics has been the key driver for this, from finger print and retina scanning to facial or voice recognition technology that makes it easy for all the different protection systems to identify you. Based on this new technology reported in Computer World about research at Birmingham State University in New York, you should be able to start using your heartbeat as a means of identification as well.
Considering many wearable devices already track the wearer’s heart-rate, it makes sense to build this technology into these devices as a means of also providing authentication. According to the report the benefits of heartbeat authentication is that it is even more unique than a fingerprint. Another potential benefit is battery life, as it requires less energy to process a heartbeat on a wearable than to go through layers of encryption. One thing that is an obvious concern is the irregularity of a person’s heartbeat when a person is nervous or tired which could factor into this.
I would hate to not be able to access my bank account in an emergency and it won’t let me because I’m freaking out. Although, I could see huge benefits in the workplace where your computer won’t let you log in if you’re too stressed. That could force them to give you time off to de-stress yourself – or head off for a liquid lunch.
In truth, this technology is probably not going to replace current forms of authentication, but perhaps could be used alongside others to create a multi-factor authentication. For instance, the Nymi band can already use some form of heartbeat authentication alongside Apple’s Touch ID to create a biometric key that can be used for authentication purposes. If you can use heartbeat authentication alongside retina scanning, finger print scanning or one of the other authentication methods, it simply provides more security while also an alternative should your hands be sweaty or you just went for a run.
It’s probably still a long way before the world perfects biometrics while ensuring your profile remain completely secure – but every little bit helps, and a future where we won’t need to worry about these endless pesky passwords could be upon us soon.