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A Swarm Of Dummy Cursors Hides Your Laptop Password When In Public

If you're particularly paranoid about someone peeping your computer's password while working in a public place, Japanese researchers have come up with a clever solution to the problem. Instead of using your laptop's keyboard, you use an on-screen pin pad to type your password. But the cursor movement is completely obfuscated by a swarm of other randomly moving cursors.


The user is able to track their own cursor because it perfectly matches the movements of their mouse or fingers on a trackpad. During testing the researchers found that with five cursors moving about, onlookers were able to figure out the password about half the time. But with 20 cursors buzzing around, 99 percent of the time it was impossible to track what the user was inputting. Not even a three card monte master would have a chance with this system. [DigInfo TV]

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Neither input looks like it would protect from a video camera. If I watched the cursor swarm long enough, I could see which cursors were fake due to their movement patterns. The humans were more deliberate in their movement and more consistent in their speed — the random moving cursors would change direction in place that wouldn't make sense. The circular input would also suffer if you had a recording of both the screen and the hand movement.

I think both could be refined (especially the cursor swarm) as it learns more human looking movement with more and more use (or for that matter, just record people entering various numbers and use those recorded paths).