Use Your Brainwaves As A Password

Brainwave authentication is one of many biometric identification systems being studied as an alternative to passwords. Could you authenticate your identity with electroencephalogram (EEG) readings?

Tommy Chin, a security researcher at cybersecurity consultancy firm Grimm, and Peter Muller, a graduate student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, decided to test this theory experimentally, by analysing people’s brainwaves before and after drinking shots of Fireball, a cinnamon-flavoured whisky.

"Brainwaves can be easily manipulated by external influences such as drugs [like] opioids, caffeine, and alcohol", Chin says. "This manipulation makes it a significant challenge to verify the authenticity of the user because they drank an immense amount of alcohol or caffeinated drink."

Chin and Muller presented their findings at security conference ShmooCon in Washington DC, last weekend, with initial results from a small number of tests indicating that brainwave authentication accuracy could fall to 33 per cent in inebriated users. They recruited more participants at SchmooCon to gather more data.

So it has a way to go before it is really usable in security situations. But Philip K. Dick was quite interested in brain scans in the 1960's. In his 1965 novel The Zap Gun, he suggests that the scans of CEO's could be used to keep their office contents secure. Consider the cephalic pattern door.

Via NewScientist.

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Index of related articles:

Biometric security overview
Biometrics Glossary
Characteristics of successful biometric identification methods
Biometric identification systems
Biometric technology on the leading edge
Biometric identification - advantages
Biometric security and business ethics
Biometric authentication: what method works best?
Iris Recognition
Iris Scan

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