Merchant Innovation

Next in ID Verification: Behavioral Biometrics

The current height in identity verification on the Web is passwords, fingerprints and iris recognition. But the process may move out of the realm of the physical altogether.

The U.S. military is developing a new “cognitive” identity verification system at West Point that could ultimately replace passwords, fingerprints and iris recognition systems for Web users. The system uses “cognitive fingerprints” instead of physical characteristics such as palms, face, DNA or iris recognition.

The biometric API centers on behavioral-based biometrics in which algorithms are used to confirm identity based on the way an individual uses desktop or mobile devices. This can include observing the rhythm of writing, how a mouse or cursor is moved, frequent typographical errors, and even typing speed.

As conveyed in a contract document acquired by Sky News: “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. The biometrics program is creating a next generation biometric capability built from multiple stylometric/behavioral modalities using standard Department of Defense computer hardware.”

Stylometrics is being used to analyze how text is constructed, as well as to check for academic authorship and plagiarism.

The military said it will likely develop the system to be used for encrypted data communications across all of its services under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency active authentication program.

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