Human gait may soon replace passwords and PINs

The number of companies embracing biometrics for authentication is increasing; after introducing “selfie pay” last year, Mastercard is now testing fingerprint-authorized payments in South Africa, smartphones ask for fingerprints to be unlocked and speech recognition can control your Windows PC.

Kinetic Energy Harvesting is the newest kid on the block, with technology developed by Data61 lab, part of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

Because passwords can be guessed and have often proven weak and inefficient, the group of researchers aims to turn the human gait into a unique authentication method through wearable sensors, such as accelerometers, and detect spoofing attacks.

“The feasibility of KEH-Gait is based on the fact that human gait has distinctive movement patterns for different individuals, which is expected to leave distinctive patterns for KEH as well,” the research paper says.

With Fitbit and Apple watch leading the way, wearables are becoming essential in daily life, turning into a market expected to be worth 70 billion dollars by 2025. Not only is it no longer convenient to regularly introduce manual PIN codes to unlock devices, but solely relying on traditional authentication methods may prove inefficient in case of malicious, targeted attacks.

The performance of the prototype was tested on 20 subjects by using two types of hardware.

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