US college reveals details of biometric wrist movement device
23 September 2014 13:52 GMT

Continuous authentication wristband aims to solve the problem of one-time authentication using passwords

Researchers at Dartmouth College’s Trustworthy Health and Wellness project say a student has created a wristband that combines wrist movement data with other behavioural biometrics to achieve continuous authentication.

The project planns to solve the problem of users continuously forgetting to log out when they leave PC terminals, with inactivity timeouts often failing security (because of too long a timeout) or usability (too short a timeout).

In response, Dartmouth computer science PhD student Shrirang Mare developed an approach called Zero-Effort Bilateral Recurring Authentication, or ZEBRA.

A user wears a bracelet with a built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and radio on his or her dominant wrist, such as those commonly sold as fitness devices. When the user interacts with a computer terminal, the bracelet records the wrist movement, with the computer then comparing it with keystroke and mouse data.

The college noted that the device achieved 85% accuracy in verifying the correct user and identified all adversaries within 11 seconds.

For a different threshold that trades security for usability, ZEBRA correctly verified 90% of users and identified all adversaries within 50 seconds. Thus, ZEBRA can recognize (in under a minute) when an unauthorized person steps in to use the terminal if the original user has stepped away from the terminal.

“This kind of quick reaction can prevent mistakes – such as clinical staff accidentally entering information into the wrong patient's medical record – or inappropriate behaviour, such as a bystander examining personal medical information or financial data”.

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