60-Second Tech

Smartphone Security Could Be Based On User Behavior

With implicit identification aka implicit authentication, your smartphone would shut down after recognizing it was lost or stolen based on how the new user was fiddling with its functions. Larry Greenemeier reports.

Apple’s new Touch ID biometric fingerprint sensor has people thinking about new ways to secure their smartphones.

One approach in the works is “implicit identification,” sometimes called “implicit authentication.” Instead of a password or fingerprint, your phone would recognize you by your behavior.

According to an article on the global business news outlet Quartz, researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center, U.C. Davis, Carnegie Mellon and elsewhere are investigating implicit identification for mobile gadgets. Such systems would ID you based on where you go measured by the phone’s GPS, apps you use and Web sites you visit.

Add phone call, text and e-mail patterns to the mix as well. Implicit ID could even factor in your typing skills to verify your identity.

Of course, none of this keeps your phone from being stolen. And a thief might be able to access some of your info before your phone figures out what’s happened and hits the kill switch.

Implicit authentication likely won’t banish passwords. But it could be used alongside them to help your smartphone cover your digital assets if they fall into the wrong hands.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.] 


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