New and Hopeful Breakthroughs in Touch Based Password Security

Scientists at the University of Washington think they have stumbled onto a technology that will render your passwords virtually un-hackable. How? By using passwords that are able to be sent through the human body, with the use of low-frequency transmissions.

Scientists believe that by reversing the same system used in fingerprint scanners, they can create viable transmissions on the body that will make room for a more secure sensor lock system.

“If you use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth everyone can hear the information. In contrast, using a password that is transmitted through the body reduces the gap in transmissions that hackers can exploit to read the signals,” Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor of computer science and engineering said in an interview.

Current touch-based password technology uses transmissions from the body to recognize data. Engineers have reversed the technology to use signals as an output that would match with your password data. They used smartphone technology that was already around, to authenticate your identity by the frequencies traveling throughout your body. These will go to devices that confirm who you are, like door locks and fingerprint scanners.

During the tests, they figured out that the transmissions worked on people of all types. That means you can be any height, weight, and at any position, even if these factors cause a weakened signal.

“While it would be still possible for someone to steal a password if they were touching the body part as it were being transmitted, but this kind of password theft would be more transparent than traditions means of hacking a password,” Gollakota continued.

This technology is still in the works, mind you. But it is being seriously considered in the field of medical wearables, and security locks. Researchers hope in the future to be able to utilize this technology to be able to exchange contact information, as well as full-size files.

“If I want to exchange my key to or contact information to a person I just met, all I would need to do is to shake their hand. Because touch-sensor technology is already so prevalent, the future of body based transmissions really depends on the market demand,” Gollakota concluded.

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