YAHOO IS IN active trials to find an alternative to traditional biometric identification. And it involves ears.
The company is looking for a cheaper alternative to passwords than embedded fingerprint scanners, which are proving expensive and have varying degrees of success.
Bodyprint is a new initiative that is looking at ways of mapping the shape of ears using the points of a multitouch screen, allowing a user to simply hold the phone to their ear.
The precise nature of the pressure at each point increases the level of security from 10 points to hundreds of thousands. Other ideas in the experiment include knuckle shape and palm print. Oh, and phalanges.
The Yahoo Labs website explains: "Bodyprint compensates for the low input resolution with an increased false rejection rate, but does not compromise on authentication precision.
"In our evaluation with 12 participants, Bodyprint classified body parts with 99.98 percent accuracy and identified users with 99.52 percent accuracy with a false rejection rate of 26.82 percent to prevent false positives."
So far the ears are the winners, though. "Scanning users' ears for identification, Bodyprint achieves 99.8 percent authentication precision with a false rejection rate of one out of 13, thereby bringing reliable biometric user authentication to a vast number of commodity devices."
The earprint is the latest idea as researchers look for ways to make the password a thing of the past, or at least beef it up a bit. Credentials are stolen and traded daily on the internet, and two-step authentication is increasingly becoming the norm.
The FIDO Alliance agreed a common standard last year for USB encrypted keys which can be used to authenticate and augment passwords. Yubico was among the first to create commercial products based on the new designs.
Windows PCs have had fingerprint scanners for years, with varying degrees of success, and it was recently confirmed that biometric support will be baked in to the forthcoming Windows 10. µ
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