Protect Your Bank Account With Your Brain
Mind-reading software could replace passwords in new security systems, Typing in pin numbers and passwords could become a thing of the past, thanks to technology that can read your thoughts. A new discovery makes one form of ‘cognitive biometrics’, as it’s known, tougher to crack- bringing it closer to reality.
In cognitive biometrics, the response of your nervous system to a stimulus is measured, then used to identify you. In one form of the technology, a series of letters or images are flashed up on a screen and your P300 wave – a type of electrical activity in the brain – is measured using electrodes fixed to your head. When a pre-defined letter or image (the ‘brain word ‘) is shown, recognition by the user generates their ‘signature’ P300 wave.
Until now, users have been shown different letters or symbols in different parts of a screen. But tests at the universities of Essex, Wolverhampton and Malaya have found that the system identifies individuals most accurately if all characters appear in the same location.
This also reduces the chances of criminals spotting the brain word by tracking eye movement. As there is no keyboard involved, it is much harder for someone intent on fraud to get access to a password. “You still have to keep your password secure,” says Dr Palani Ramaswamy of the University of Wolverhampton. “It’s just that the way of entering the password is more resistant to fraud.”
Accuracy still needs to be improved before cognitive biometrics can come into mainstream use. “Once accuracy is close to 1 00 per cent, it can be used for financial transactions and maybe high-security military applications as well,” says Ramaswamy.