Slideshow: Ten Weird Biometrics In Your Future

VIEW SLIDESHOW: Weird Science: 10 Forms of Biometric Authentication In the past twenty years, we’ve gone from using amber-tinted dumb terminals connected to refrigerator-sized mainframe computers to sleek tablet computers and smart phones tucked into our pockets. Despite those changes, one technology has stubbornly persisted: passwords. Indeed, the explosion in computing devices and Web-based services has made us more dependent on passwords than ever.

VIEW SLIDESHOW: Weird Science: 10 Forms of Biometric Authentication

In the past twenty years, we’ve gone from using amber-tinted dumb terminals connected to refrigerator-sized mainframe computers to sleek tablet computers and smart phones tucked into our pockets. Despite those changes, one technology has stubbornly persisted: passwords. Indeed, the explosion in computing devices and Web-based services has made us more dependent on passwords than ever.

Experience has shown that all those passwords adds up to less security not more. Our brains weren’t designed to memorize long strings of random digits, so folks just end up reusing the same password – and often a pitifully insecure one at that. Those kind of ingrained behaviors have lots of companies looking for alternatives.

IBM recently said that its researchers believe that the password will eventually go the way of the Brontosaurus, replaced with technologies like biometric identification. Recent developments give credance to that. Google released a new phone last year that unlocks itself with a simple scan of your face. Technology like Nuance’s Dragon and Apple’s Siri continue to break new ground when it comes to voice authentication.

What other weird ways might researchers and entrepeneurs find to let you identify yourself? Threatpost put together this collection of 10 crazy biometrics…that just might work.  Click through the following slide show to see 10 odd – and slightly obscure – forms of biometric authentication being investigated today.

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Discussion

  • Anne Ominous on

    There is only one flaw with this whole scheme: people, in general, don't WANT to be "authenticated" via biometrics.

    The problem is that while biometrics can be pretty reliable, their very level of reliability is also their downfall.

    Consider the case of biometric "gun locks", which has been an active area of research for decades. The problem with a mechanism that "allows" a gun to work based on biometrics is that it must be 100.0000% reliable, under varying conditions. 99.9%, or even 99.999%, is simply not good enough to prevent tragedies from occurring.

    Similarly, while identification for other purposes may not be as critical, who wants a situation in which a child is denied school lunch because the computer says she already ate?

    On the other hand: if the biometrics are TOO reliable, then their perceived utility is often completely outweighed by the potential for government or corporate abuse.

    So there may not even exist a "sweet spot" in which these concerns are reasonably balanced. On the contrary: the areas of concern overlap in a mutually-exclusive way.

     

     

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