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Banks Now Know Who You Are From How You Type

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No two humans type alike. Some of us jab our fingers precisely into the right spots on a screen, while others are slightly less accurate. Now, a Swedish security startup is using this behavior to add an extra layer of security to our cellphones.

Banks in Europe's Nordic region are now using a new kind of security technology for their mobile apps that not only uses PIN numbers but also takes into account how a user types these in.


"We're monitoring the small stuff," Neil Costigan, founder of Behaviosec, the startup behind the recent roll-out, tells Forbes. "The flight between the keys, which corners of the keys you tend to hit, where you pause. Do you circle in on a button or do you go straight to it and hit it?"

Let's face it, it's easier for someone to steal your PIN than the nuances of how you type. Behaviosec claims a 99.7 percent session accuracy when it trialled its technology with a PIN number for Danske Bank. By the end of the year, every internet bank user in Sewden, Norway and Denmark will be doubly verified by not just their PIN number but also their behavior. And already, there is interest from U.S. payments providers as well.


The applications, of course, go way beyond security. Imagine this technology built into entire devices, not just apps. A tablet, for instance, could instead detect that it is being handled by a child and switch to a kid-friendly mode.

In its current form, the technology works by building a constantly-evolving profile by watching how someone types a PIN on an app over a few weeks. But Costigan says that future iterations can take into account how people hold and move their phone via built-in sensors like gyroscopes and accelerators to drastically speed up the process. [Forbes]