Passwords Could Be A Dying Breed
October 16, 2012

The Eyes Have It – New Technology Would Read Eye Movements For Passwords

Alan McStravick for - Your Universe Online

Your first password was probably your pet´s name or the street you grew up on. Then they started requiring numbers and certain punctuation characters. If you are anything like me, and God help you if you are, you have numerous post-it notes littering your computer desk with current and former passwords for any number of websites, accounts and work databases. It took looking to science fiction and high-energy action movies for the next generation of security.

Like something out of a spy drama, we´ve seen the idea of iris and retinal scanning in the field of science fiction for years. The technology started coming into wide use as a means of providing a near-foolproof system for protecting secure information in governmental and corporate settings. But there was a problem. The technology didn´t have a way of detecting that what was being presented was live tissue. This means the system could be breached with a simple high-resolution picture of the security-cleared eye.

A new method still focuses on the eye. A report out of Texas State University-San Marcos details a new way to exploit a user´s individual eye movements. Each person, like a fingerprint, has a unique sequencing of eye movement. Computer scientist Oleg Komogortsey wants to create a system that will successfully identify the unique movement pattern of individuals as they scan the computer. This method, if successful, would be far more secure than the systems currently in place.

Measurements would be taken during fixation, (when they eye lingers) and saccades, (the movements your eyes make when they switch from one object to another). Even if two users were to trace across the image on the same path their eyes move differently. The new system would be able to detect these subtle movements.

According to Komogortsey, eye movements have potential as a viable biometric and he sees them being used as next-generation iris scans. His hope is that by adding an eye movement sensor, the previous vulnerabilities would be negated.

Of concern, and requiring further study, are a few issues about eyes. For instance, it is unknown whether or not your eye movements, themselves practically impossible to fake, might change as you get older. Also, it isn´t fully understood if your emotional state or if you´ve been drinking, for instance, affect your regular ocular movement.

Komogortsey remains optimistic about his innovation, however. He believes his iris scanning with eye-movement detection system should have a working prototype in the next 1 to 3 years. Field testing would occur very soon after. And in this writer´s opinion, it can´t come fast enough because aMJAr_fourtEEn1989 is really hard to remember.