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Researchers teach smartphones to recognize your activity, lock out everyone else

Billy Steele
April 7, 2014
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Swipe patterns, passwords and fingerprint scanners are useful for keeping that mobile device locked down from the outside, but what happens once that code is cracked? Well, cybersecurity researchers at Georgia Tech have developed LatentGesture that continuously monitors gadgets for intruders based on taps and swipes. If the system detects any use patterns that vary from the observed user profiles, it locks the device down. "The system learns a person's 'touch signature,' then constantly compares it to how the current user is interacting with the device," said College of Computing assistant professor Polo Chau.

To create that "touch signature," user activity is monitored in terms of swipes, taps and check boxes, making a custom profile for up to five authorized users. What's more, those accounts can also be used as parental controls to keep kids out of the App Store. The software was found to be 98 percent accurate on phones and showed a 97 percent accuracy on tablets when tested on Android devices during the trial phase. Chau goes on to say that just like our fingerprints, how we interact with touchscreen devices is unique to each person, so having this software running in the background is a non-intrusive way to keep those trusty devices secure. This means that in the future, if someone happens to peep your passcode, you may still have a hope of locking them out before any major damage is done.

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