At A Glance – Behavioural Biometrics

Body recognition use on the rise

Chances are that you already know of, and maybe even use, physical biometrics in your everyday life. In the last few years, interest in body recognition tech has soared. Alongside this has been a growing recognition of the merits of behavioural biometrics. Instead of identifying physical patterns, behavioural biometrics measures patterns in human activity. This can include speech, signature, hand eye coordination, typing rhythm and scrolling movements.

Analysing behavioural biometrics is not a new technique – during the Second World War, belligerents were able to validate telegrams by recognising patterns in the dots and dashes used by operators. Later, in the 1960s, the first signature validation was developed. However, according to Mercator Advisory Group, 2017 will be the breakout year for a wider understanding and adoption of the technology. Real world applications include any environment or system that handles sensitive data, for example healthcare or banking. Swedish company BehavioSec has developed and patented typing rhythm analysis software for apps and smartphone operating systems. The technology is already used by major banks in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and is under trial in the UK.

The benefits of studying behaviours include ease of integration, continual authentication and minimal user impact. The software used by BehavioSec, for instance, doesn’t require complicated technological changes to devices and can be added to existing infrastructures. Behavioural biometrics are also passive, which means that they are non-intrusive and difficult for cybercriminals to detect. Of course, behavioural biometrics are by no means infallible. Unlike physical biometrics, typing habits and other behaviours can be largely similar for wide groups of people. The most effective security systems will utilise both techniques to provide multi-layered verification.